Translated by Collin Radford
Sutra Training at Fukagawa Fudo-do
Written by NakagawaAyana
Recently, in Japan, writing sutras has become the point of focus for its ability to help clear your mind. Try it out at Fukagawa-do!
The Sutras are writings that contain the teachings of Buddhism, which are copied by hand as a form of ascetic training. This training has been conducted at Japanese temples since times of old to train the heart and mind.
When you hear the words ascetic training, you might imagine something severe and difficult. But that is not at all the case: recently in Japan, the training has become the point of focus for its ability to help clear one's head and increase one's concentration.
In this article, we will introduce the Fukagawa Fudo-do, where you can experience sutra training for yourself.
Gorieki-Dori, towards Fukagawa Fudo-do,
You can experience the training in the Fukagawa Fudo-do in Fukagawa, Tokyo. The scent of the burning incense from the temple is apparent as soon as you get out of the Tokyo Metro, Monzen Nakacho Station. Outside of the station, pass through a small road, and then head for Fukagawa Fudo-do.
In Japan, roads that lead to temples are known as Sando. The Sando that leads to Fukagawa Fudo-do is called "Gorieki-Dori", where wagashi as well as other traditional Japanese foods are available in stores along the street. Once you've done with the sutra training, it might be a fun place to check out.
Modern yet historic! An electric display greets you upon entry
Fukagawa Fudo-do has a 300-year history. Not only does it offer traditional Japanese scenery, but it has also adopted modern technology. For example, it uses an LED display that can be read from 100 meters away and displays the day's events.
This Chozuba has sensors attached to it that detect when a person approaches. It helps protect the environment by only turning on when someone is using it.
This is the entrance to the temple of Fukagawa Fudo-do. Every day at 9:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00, and 17:00 - a total of five times a day - the monks read the sutras and pray.
The echoing sound of the taiko and conch shells fills you with energy. If you go at the scheduled times, you will be able to see the monks on the grounds.
No need to bring your own brush!
The souvenir shop of the first floor is where you sign up for the sutra training. If this is your first time, the monks will spend five minutes explaining the process.
They accept patrons every day from 9:00 to 14:30. It costs ¥2,000, and you pay at the desk. They will prepare all of the tools for you, so you do not need to bring your own brush.
Photo credit: Narita-san Fukagawa Fudo-do
Once the preparations are completed, all that's left is to put brush to paper. All you have to do is trace the faded characters, from top to bottom, so it is easy even for those who aren't used to handling the brush. Anyone can write beautiful characters here. For a first-timer, it will generally take about two hours.
Copying out sutras in silence for two hours is a real test of concentration. But when it's over, your head will be crystal clear.
You focus your attention on a single point in a space with little information for your eyes and ears. While it seems like you're using your head, the concentration allows your mind to rest.
Write a wish, and you are done!
You'll surprise yourself with the perfect lines of beautiful characters. At the end, write your wish on the left and you're done.
Once you've written it, you can take it home and save it, or you can give it to the dojo before you go home.
Once you've left the sutra dojo and feel the the light of the sun, you'll be able to feel the clearness of your mind. You'll feel refreshed and look forward to the rest of your day.
When you want to clear your head, or just want to concentrate on something for a few hours, give sutra training a try. It will make you feel fresh and revitalized!
Narita-san Tokyo Betsuin Fukagawa Fudo-do
Address: 1-17-13 Tomioka, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 8:00–18:00(entry)/9:00–14:00(Sutra )
Accepted Credit Cards: None
Language Accessibility: Japanese
Multi-Language Menus: None
Nearest Station(s): 3-min walk from Monzen Nakacho Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line
Access: The entrance to Gorieki-Dori is next to Exit No. 1 of Monzen Nakacho Station
Phone Number: +81(0)3-3641-8288
Official Website: Narita-san Tokyo Betsuin Fukagawa Fudo-do (Japanese)