DAY PROGRAMS Horakuan hosts a variety of events during our open season (April-December). Our regular events include zazen meditation, outdoor meditation, spiritual study groups, sutra copying, Buddhist image tracing, tea ceremonies, pilgrimage walks and more. Once a year we hold our Raibutsu-e ceremony, where we worship the Buddha through chanting. We offer the opportunity to experience the quiet and peace of temple life in the mountains through various retreats, private/group stays. In addition, confidential counseling sessions are available for those who wish to discuss their spiritual path or a life challenge. We also hold creative workshops and events, which will be announced on the calendar. Please click the links below for specific details about our programs and events. To confirm exact dates, please refer to the calendar. Feel free to contact us for any individual arrangements. Zazen Meditation with Sound Meditation in Nature Meditative Walking Sutra Tracing, Buddhist Image Tracing Zen & Creative Arts Japanese Tea Ceremony Yoga Workshop Pilgrimage Walks Guidance and Counseling Zazen Zazen (seated meditation) is the core of Zen Buddhist practice. Horakuan holds regular open zazen sessions. No experience is necessary. First time zazen participants, please come 20 minutes early for meditation instruction. Instruction is available in English, Japanese, and German. To learn more about zazen, please click here. Evening Zazen Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday April – August. 19:00 – 21:00, Sept. – March 18:30 – 20:30 Two 30-minute meditation sessions (with a brief break in between), followed by sutra chanting, tea, and an informal chat. Meditation with Sound Sound can have a profound and immediate effect on your subconscious. When combined with mediation, they can help you to achieve a deeper meditative state than when you are in silence. This program is sometimes run together with the Meditation Walking. The program can be run inside or outside and will use Tibetan bells or other to aid with the Meditation. Meditation In Nature This program is run outside and so is dependant on the weather. Normally meeting at Horakuan, we will either set out hiking from the temple or drive to another location before hiking away from built up areas. We will stop in various tranquil locations to carry out breathing exercises, meditations or creative activities – such as mandala drawing – allowing our minds to be influenced by the natural world around us. Good, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Meditative Walking Behind Horakuan is a purpose built meditation path in our garden. This meditative exercise focuses on aligning our breathing with our steps as we reconnect with the natural world. This program is carried out barefoot to allow us to become grounded and connected with the earth and is often combined with other programs – such as Meditation with sound. It is advised that you bring a small foot towel with you. “Meditative walking is an integral part of meditative practice. Either guided or silent, it is an inspiring practice that supports a spiritual journey. These walks are not a way to get somewhere, rather they are the object by themselves. When we walk with no aim to get somewhere, we are available to enjoy the walk itself, the pace, fresh air and open space. We focus on our breath and bring our attention to the body, the movement and the way it affects us. Steady tempo can allow us to withdraw from the habitual thought process and help us attune to ourselves inside and to the nature around. As we regularly practice meditative walks we slowly start to see what we see when we look at nature – from the broad vision of nature as a whole to each leaf, flower and seed. Regular practice can facilitate to maintain a healthy balanced life. Meditative walking can also help us avoid accumulating tension that is due to unresolved difficulties and therefore promote a peaceful state of mind.” (Text by: Mochita Har-Lev. Thank you!) Sutra Tracing 2nd Friday of the Month 9:00 – 10:00 Please bring your own brush-pen (fudepen) Copying sutra (the teachings of Buddha) is a form of meditation, done in the same mind as zazen. This activity harmonizes body and mind, facilitates the flow of creative energy, increases familiarity with sutra, and fosters a deeper contemplation of sutra. Participants may copy sutra text (written in Japanese kanji) or trace images of various Buddhist figures (Shabutsu). Text, images, and materials are provided. For more information please email horakuan(at)gmail.com. Zen & Creative Arts In many traditions art has always been an integral part of spiritual practice. Creativity is simply to allow the spirit to fly free where it wants to go, give it life, let it play and direct you back towards remembering your sacred self – it is the vehicle and the essential language of giving meaning to that which connects us all. The Zen arts are examples of meditation in action, and they are practiced to bring about the same kind of results as zazen or sitting meditation. The total attention, precision, and discipline required for true creativity to blossom though one’s own craft requires fully inhabiting the present moment, free of self and other, past and future, in a non-conceptual state of wakefulness. “In the process of creating, two completely different attitudes can be present. One approach is ego-based, where the sense of “I“ is placed firmly in the center: “I create”, “I am the artist” etc. In the second approach the sense of “I” moves aside or disappears so that something higher or greater can be expressed. In this process the artist is humble and receptive. Deeply inquiring ‘from where does a creation come from?’ and ‘who is creating?’ can lead us to a meditative state from which real art can be reached. Letting go of old expectations and conditioning as well as loosening our attachments towards personal creativity is an essential part needed in order to create from a meditative state of mind. Only when we are free to create or to let creation flow through us can we actually be “truthful” in our art.” (Quoted text by: Mochita Har-Lev.) Japanese Tea Ceremony Experience the Zen concept of living fully in the present moment through the enjoyment of a Japanese tea ceremony. The ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha (powdered green tea) interweaves the principles of harmony (with people and nature), respect (for others), purity (of heart and mind), and tranquility. Quiet your mind while appreciating the grace, peacefulness, and hospitality of a Japanese tea ceremony. To join, please contact us: email horakuan(at)gmail.com. Yoga Workshop This program is not run very often, as the yoga instructor has to be booked especially for the program. Yoga workshops are normally organised to run with a weekend or overnight program, with the Yoga workshop making up a part of the morning’s programs. Please keep an eye on the website where we will announce the next Yoga Workshop. Guidance and Counseling If you have questions about Zen Buddhism, your spiritual path, or a life challenge you are facing, please feel free to contact us at horakuan(at)gmail.com to schedule an individual meeting. All conversations are confidential. Contact for Appointment Pilgrimage Walks Spring Cherry Blossom Pilgrimage Walk • April Spend the day visiting various Buddhist shrines and temples, while enjoying Japan’s beautiful cherry blossoms. The exact route and date will be announced. Autumn Foliage Pilgrimage Walk • October Spend the day visiting various Buddhist shrines and temples, while enjoying Japan’s beautiful Autumn foliage. The exact route and date will be announced.