Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Temple 1 - Ryozenji to Temple 6

Around 5:30 am, since I was wide awake on the bus, I looked out and what to my wonderous surprise, it was raining.  After arriving at Tokoshima around 6:30 am,  we went in to the train station and were able to catch the 6:40 am train and take it close to the first temple -Ryozenji. Thankfully, it had stopped raining and was just a heavy overcast sky. We went into the temple shop, where I purchased my attire. Just as we got back outside to start the temple prayers. there was a heavy steady rain. What a time, trying to get things organized, so they don't get wet. I figured the rain was a test by Kobo Daishi, if I was up to the ohenro walk. Here is a picture outside temple 1 below. It rained steady for the walk to the next 3 temples, which put a damper on taking any pictures. I was struggling to keep things dry and I had to throw my organization plan out the window. I figured anyone could do it in nice weather, so it was my test to see if I was up to the task. Below is a picture of temple 4 where it had stopped raining around 11am. Along the way we stopped at a little udon noodle shop where their specialty was kitdunay udon, which stands for fox udon in English. No there was no dead fox with the udon. Instead there was different seaweeds. It was nice to stop and rest and have some food, since we didn't stop to have breakfast. It started to sprinkle rain at the end of the day again, and I thought, time to get the rain gear out again.
By temple 4, I finally had the routine down pat, with doing the heart sutra and all. We met a nice lady from Holland, who is walking by herself. She is also staying at temple 6 tonight. We ate supper with her and she is only doing 10 days of the pilgrimage.
After supper we went to the chanting service. We got to see the main hall with their Buddha statue up close. Before the chanting they had us make a nameslip, a memorial slip and write on a stick a wish. I put my father's name on the memorial, since I was doing the pilgrimage in his memory. After the chanting, we went to the back and placed a candle in memory of the person we wrote on the slip. We then placed the wooden stick, with had our wish written on it, on the fire. Then we walked by many beautiful statues. All in all, an enjoyable way to see the full inside of the temple, instead of just the outside.
Afterwards I had a nice bath in the onsen and went to bed around 9 pm. I was so tired. I survived my first day of my ohenro walk.

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