The Temple of the Golden Pavilion – daily schedule

The protagonist, Mizoguchi, of The Temple of Golden Pavilion joins the titular temple to study as a young boy in the summer. There he, like other monks across different sects and religions, must follow a strict routine. Mishima details a day in the temple.

  • 5 o’clock: “opening of the rules” or waking up. Members of the temple are woken by the sound of a bell.
  • first morning task: recite sutras three times, also called “triple return”
  • second morning task: sweep and mop the temple floors
  • breakfast meal: breakfast is also called the “gruel session” and is eaten while listening to a “gruel-session sutra”
  • daily tasks: after breakfast, everyone had tasks related to the maintenance of the temple – picking weeds, chopping wood, cleaning, etc. Mizoguchi has the particular task of delivering the newspaper to the Superior.
  • school: Mizoguchi and the other young boys at the temple then walk to the nearby school together
  • evening meal: once they’ve walked back from school, it is about time for evening meal, also called “medicine”
  • post-meal lecture: after having his medicine, the Superior of the temple gives a lecture on the sacred scriptures
  • 9 o’clock: “opening of the pillow” or bedtime

Can you imagine getting so much done before even getting to school? I certainly can’t. My favorite thing about their schedule is the term “opening of the pillow” — it sounds very nice and soft.

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