Sunday, June 13, 2010

Zhenru Monastery -- Part two

The meditation hall is also the dormitory, as traditionally so in Japan.

The monks sit on the benches facing outward during meditation, and sleep on the platforms up above them.

This is the altar in the center of the meditation hall, which reminds me of the news stands on the U-Bahn platforms in Berlin. The figure inside is that of Buddha's uncle, who according to the legend taught Buddha how to meditate. Note the thermos bottles to the left, and smoke marks above the niche. It seems indicative of the earthy quality of Chinese zen, compared with its highly-polished presentation in Japan.

This is the Chinese version of the kyosaku, or wake-up stick. There are two versions: one for an offense against the chan sect, the other (with different Chinese characters) for an offense against the rules of the monastery.

The traditional fish drum and meal bell, brought also to temples in Japan.

Chinese Buddhist temples commonly have a Paradise Wall in a narrow hallway behind the meditation hall, an opportunity for local people to splurge on folk art. In addition to all the Arhats and Lohans and Boddhisattvas, Guanyin is seen pouring out libations of mercy through a plastic garden hose.

Article continues here.


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