Seek nothing, just sit. This is the zen practice pursued at Antaiji, a Soto school zen temple hidden deep in the mountains of northern Hyogo Prefecture. Residents, including several non-Japanese from abroad, engage in 1,800 hours of zazen sitting meditation per year and lead the self-sufficient lifestyle that is the zen ideal. Growing their own food, engaging in other hard physical labor, and sitting long hours in meditation to clear their minds of idle thoughts, they follow a rigorous practice focused on self-understanding. Among them are young men who question the meaning of life and experience deep distress. What answers will they find? This program follows daily temple practice over the course of a year.
Residents working in a field
Main hall of Antaiji in winter
Back view of residents practicing zazen
Close-up of a non-Japanese resident practicing zazen