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The Buddhist practice of Shakyou is to trace Sutras by hand.

I used to be vaguely aware that Shakyou was a way to recieve some good luck. But Akadama japan decided to try it once!

With excitement I was headed for Tokyo Betsuin,a branch temple of Nara Yakushi-ji temple, which is located near Gotanda station in Tokyo. It is about a 15 minutes walk from the station.

There are some temples where you can experience Shakyou in Tokyo.

In this temple you don't have to make a reservation, and it is available

from 9 a.m to 5 p.m for 365 days a year.

I chose the minimum number of Kanji characters"Hannya-Shingyo" sutra

and paid 2,000yen as a fee for copying the sutra (ごのうきょうりょうGonoukyouryo)at the reception. And then, a female monk gave me some

quick lectures in a simple way before I began Shakyou.

She handed me a piece of dried clove(ちょうじChouji)and told me

to keep it my mouth while I copied the sutra. This makes you purified through

your breathing. If you don't like that taste, it is Ok to take it out in halfway during Shakyou.But if you keep it in your mouth until finishing Shakyou,

you should swallow it as a manner.

I entered Shakyou hall where Yakushi Nyorai(Medicine Buddha) Statue is

placed.I noticed an incense burner,shaped an elephant, in the doorway.

Have you ever seen burning incense in large burners at some Japanese

temples? The smoke is believed to have healing power. So, people wave

the smoke towards your body or head.

As for this elephant incense burner, you stride over it. Smoke goes up,

and it purifies you. That's the excellent elephant!

I sat on a chair .I was relieved not to sit in Seiza(※ place your knees on the

floor and rest your buttocks on the top of your feet. The tops of your feet

should be flat on the floor,don't use a chair).

The temple already had the Shakyou-Kit "ink-stick, brush, a sheet of plain

paper for calligraphy and the sample of Shakyo" prepared for you.

Before starting, I put my hands together and prayed and bowed towards

the principal object of Buddha Yakushi Nyorai.

Then I rubbed the ink-stick and soaking a brush into the ink gently...

let's start tracing Shakyou!

While using caution not to make a mistake, I was tracing the characters.

I usually don't handwrite so much, and I don't use a brush....before long

my hands started trembling , my shoulders began to get stiff and

I was all bleary-eyed....

But I just kept gazing at the characters in the silentness, and my mind

became amazingly empty.

It took about one hour and half to finally copy about 270.

At the end of the Shakyou paper, there is a space to write your wish.

You can write as many wishes as you like.

I wrote on the paper my prayers for the reconstruction of Kumamoto after

the earthquake, and prayed for better fortune for myself too.

Your Shakyou, which you wrote will be saved in the inner of Nara Yakushi-ji

temple permanently. Think about it, your Shakyou will be hold the temple

for 1,000 years or 2,000 years to come. Isn't it amazing ?

There is a Hiragana(ひらがな)Shakyou for people who are not be able to write Kanji or for children.

Why don't you try it in a lighthearted way. I am sure it will be a valuable

experience for you.

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