Antaiji Photo Albums

FAQ: Why the hell are these pictures so different from real life at Antaiji?

Many people find that what they read on the homepage about zazen and work at Antaiji sounds pretty strict. How come, on the other hand, that what they see on these pictures are people enjoying themselves or nature?

The most obvious reason is that we took these pictures during our free time. People have no camera with them when they go through the hell of a sesshin or sweating their balls off during samu. They do take pictures when it is party time, or on a leisurely afternoon on a free day. So it is true that even though the zazen page tells you to be prepared to die on the zafu, or that work is physically demanding, people end up having fun and enjoying themselves at certain times too.

Of course the other side, that part of practice which you will not find in this album, does exist as well. People have other things to do than taking photographs when the practice gets harder, and also a lot of the so called "hardship" of practice is caused not so much by the zazen or work that we actually do, but rather by our minds not being willing to accept the reality of our present lifes here, always looking for something that might be more satisfying in some other place. That is why these pictures might be more entertaining for those who know Antaiji only from the computer screen, than for those who actually live and practice here, because for them it is a reality, not a dream of some better place somewhere else.

If you come to Antaiji, you too might find that the reality here is less satisfying than you expected it to be when you saw the pictures. Reality is always different from the picture we make of it. Antaiji is not an image in our minds, but rather a reality that refutes any ideas we might have in our minds about how reality should be.