For this semester’s CIP, I volunteered at Nagaoka Zen Juku! Nagaoka Zen Juku is located in the southern part of Kyoto and is a small Buddhist temple that focuses on giving college students and working people the opportunity to engage in Zen Buddhism and monastic life. At the time of volunteering there, three people lived there: the head monk, a monk in charge of day-to-day life, and a Japanese college student. If you wish to learn more about it, here is a link to their website: https://nagaokazenjuku.or.jp/english/ .
As a part of my time volunteering there, I visited once a week and engaged in a variety of activities: practicing zazen meditation, cleaning the temple, and talking with the other inhabitants. I had a lot of fun volunteering there and I’m thankful I got to meet lots of awesome people and learn a lot about Japanese Buddhist tradition. Furthermore, after this semester, I actually have the opportunity to stay there over the summer, so I’m excited to continue learning more.
Although this CIP is a little far away and requires quite some time to arrange, I highly recommend it to anyone who is inquisitive about monastic life.