Tokurin-Ji Temple: Everyday Life and Life Lessons

I went to Nagoya Castle with Lin-San. I wanted to show him my zazen skills!

Hey everyone, it’s been a week since I last talked with you. I hope you are all doing well! I heard about the Boston Marathon Bombing and I felt very sad for the families affected. I felt many emotions and it was obvious in the temple that Mori-Chan (me) was not her normal self these last couple days. I’m glad to hear my friends are safe and that so many people in Boston took charge and opened their homes to visitors or they donated blood for the victims. I’m proud to be an American. ; )

Well, life at the temple has become more quiet. The Nepali people left yesterday, so now it’s only the monks and four staff. I like the quiet, but I’ll really miss the Nepal guys. They were full of laughter and when they saw me, they would show a big grin and say, “Namaste” which means good day/hello/peace/good morning/good evening. Pretty much, it is a very nice word. They also gave me a Nepali name, “Shanti.” It means peaceful/quiet person. The Nepal people seemed to always find me reading/studying under a tree, or quietly humming a song while cooking dinner, or just sitting in thought. I guess I can be pretty quiet at times. I appreciated their friendship and when I meet other Nepali, I will say “Namaste,” with an equally big grin. : )

This is the oven I used to make pizza and bread in with the Nepali.

Other than that, I’ve been doing morning meditation (maybe I missed a couple because I slept through my alarm…. Ops), I made American style pancakes (yum!), I made pizza, I’ve explored more of Nagoya, and I’ve been hiking around a nearby mountain (small mountain with lots of bamboo and plum trees). Lin-San has been very kind to me. He has been my sensei and tour guide of Nagoya. Yesterday, I played tennis with him and some friends and a couple days ago he showed me around the city. He made a joke that he is not a gentlemen, but a “Gentlemonk.” I laughed very hard after that one. I’ve also learned a lot about the monk lifestyle. I’ll write about that later.

There is a staff member here named Yamasaki-San. We didn’t talk much the first week I was here, but he’s opened up to me since then and he’s turned out to be a very funny guy (and his English is superb). He’s been my Japanese teacher and kinda like a father figure for me at the temple. He encourages me to eat more, go to bed earlier, and other Dad-like things. Of course, I listen to him, but sometimes I wanna stay up later or eat more sweets. >.>
But honestly, he’s a cool guy. We went on a nice hike two days ago and we cook meals everyday. I enjoy singing and spending time with him. Thanks Yamasaki-San!

These are my friends here at Tokurin-Ji. Me, Lin-San, Jun-San, Nepali, and Yamasaki-San. We eat dinner at this table every night. I also chat with the boys here as well.

This is the bread I baked in the oven with the Nepali.

This last week, I have learned a lot about patience. I have met someone who has very opposing views from me. Some examples are about gay adoption and he has strong opinions on Muslim and Jewish people. At first, I was very good and listened and shared my opinion on the matter; all was well. I respect others opinions, even if I disagree completely. But he said something that was the last straw and I for the first time in a long while lost my temper. Whew Nelly, did I let him know what I thought. I know I can be stubborn and I learned that night how ugly and stubborn I can be. I spent that evening with a heavy heart full of pride, it felt awful. The next morning, I analyzed my actions and contemplated my feelings. In the end, I wrote him a long letter. I apologized and told him why I got mad. I also explained how important cooperation is for world peace, so even though we disagree, we can still understand one another and cooperate. We agreed to disagree, and since then we’ve actually become good friends. It’s kinda weird how that happens. Even though I showed my ugly side, I learned a lot about problem resolution and overcoming my pride. I still need a lot more time before I can call myself a humble person, but I think I’m on the the right track.

Jun-San and I talk almost every night and we always end up saying, “we must be more humble!” two nights ago June-San and I talked about how we can help make the world a better place one action at a time. We made a list. This list only had four bullet points: gratitude, humbleness, love, and : ).
We determined if people can do all these things, the world can become a happy and safe place. If people can be more grateful, then there will be less envy. Instead of wanting more, people can appreciate what they already have. If people can be more humble, there will be less pride. People will give more and not expect anything in return. People will live simply, and understand that a smile can be worth more than any amount of money. Of course, love is very important. If people can love more, there will be less hate. There would be peace if we could all accept our differences and just hold hands. I like holdings hands, don’t you? And of course, if there is more : ), then there is less sadness and less anger. If people can smile more, then the world will become a happier and more peaceful place to live in. Doesn’t sound that hard, right?! Okay, maybe it’ll take a while, but if we could all just try to change just a little, then it could make a big difference in your life, my life, or a strangers life.

As you can see, living with Buddhists has been really good for me. The Buddhist mentality is a very good one, at least in my opinion. The people who surround me are teaching me to be a better person and for that I am grateful. I dunno if I’ll become a Buddhist, but I’ll definitely keep what I have learned close to my heart.

Well, it’s tea time. Gotta get my green tea fix. I hope you liked my rant!

Much love,


Damien, Lin-San, and I sight seeing. What a pretty day!

One Comment on “Tokurin-Ji Temple: Everyday Life and Life Lessons

  1. Pingback: Presenting About My Experiences Living in a Japanese Zen Temple | Molly's Journey to the West

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