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The First Gate






Zen Training

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Training Students

The Zen training in Hinotori Zendo emphasizes this primary idea of the transmission through personal experience rather than through theoretical knowledge.  It provides time and space for anyone seeking refuge from ego-driven reality and the resulting suffering. The Zendo offers practitioners the opportunity to penetrate the sacred inner universe in which their own nature can be encountered.


The training is led by Doka Sensei, Zen priest and the founder of Hirotori Zendo, who brings decades of experience from both words, secular and spiritual. If you have a serious interest in finding your own nature and spiritual awakening, and if you are willing to practice consistently but do not want to quit your daily job and worldly responsibilities, this training may be for you.


Nevertheless, you may be in a stage in your life where you still cannot see clearly what you want or need. However, it is of great importance to clarify your motivation that brought you to spiritual practice before choosing this type of Zen training.  You should be also prepared to accept that your expectations will most likely not match the actual experience. Although, you will encounter joy and holistic well-being over time, this is not a place that will offer you atmosphere of the wellness center. Letting mind settle down and learning how to really get into Zazen takes time and discipline.  During this training you will not be served, caressed or pitied, but will be supported with awakened compassion in exploring your own original nature. 


If you attend an intense day, weekend training, or One-Month Zen Training, you will learn that the most ordinary life can teach you to resist the voice of the constantly demanding Ego, embrace principles of letting go and living every moment with full presence.  As a result, the practice will exceed your expectations, providing you with a transformative experience that continues to unfold in deep and subtle ways even after you leave the Zendo. 


Would you like to start Zen training?

Regular Zen Students

This training is intended to guide people who feel the need to free themselves from suffering and to live consciously at every moment.  This demanding and long process requires discipline, intention and perseverance, especially if the training is embedded in a secular, Ego-oriented life, which makes the training a challenging task.  Zen training does not aim to isolate you from secular life, but rather to provide you with awareness and open your eyes so that you can be fully conscious and present in everything that comes.  


Although no amount of information can assist you better than personal experience, if you need support to clarify whether this training is suitable for you, please spend some time reading the information on the website, especially the sections on Daily Zen Schedule, Retreats, Meetings with Sensei, the One-Month Zen Training, and published articles.  If your interest is clear and you decide to engage in semi-resident training for longer than one month, it is advisable to start with a month first so that we can assess whether this training is a good match for you. To start with, please indicate your interest when completing the one-month training application.  However, you can always switch to a less stringent Zen practice set up for urban practitioners


If you still have a question as to whether you are qualified for this training or not, you can arrange a meeting with the teacher.

Formal Hinotori Students

As a regular student, you are connected to the teacher and other zendo practitioners without committing to the obligations of a formal Hinotori student.  Already your decision to take part in this project line (Zen Training) shows your interest in Zen Buddhism or the discovery of the path of Shikantaza (只管打坐) “just sitting”. However, if you want to delve deeper into the essence of your original nature, you may want to become a formal Hinotori student.  The purpose is to develop an efficient and consistent practice that will lead you to ultimate relief without ever having it as your goal. Formal students need to have strong fundamental aspiration to understand the nature of Life that goes beyond a specific practice or teaching.  

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