Saturday, 19 April 2014

Temple 66 - Unpenji & Temple 67 - Daikoji

Temple 66 - In 807, Kukai revisited this site and at the request of Emperor Saga (786-842) carved the main deity and enshrined it here. During the Kamakura period (1192-1333) the temple prospered as a place of learning and numerous buildings were constructed.
Temple 67 -  Founded by Kukai in 822 at the request of Emperor Saga and became a large center for religious academic learning for both the Tendai and Shingon Buddhist sects. Most of the buildings were burned down by the troops of Chosokabe. The Main Hall was rebuilt in the early 1600s.

Supper was very interesting. The Okada minshuku owner (an elderly man) sat at the end of a long table that fit just the nine of us (all ohenros). The walls were plastered with pictures of him with ohenros over the years. After supper he took great pride on handing out a map sheet (where he had manually color coded the route on each copy) and explained in great detail the route with 8 x 10 photos showing the different parts of the trail. He then handed a map sheet with the route to 67, 68, 69 and 70. He said it would take about 2.5 hours to climb to temple 66. I am adding an extra hour on for me. Breakfast is at 6 am, which will mean about a 6:30 am start, so should put me there between 10 to 11 am. The weather forecast is for sunny. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed. All I can say, is the owner is quite the character. He sat proudly at the end of the table with his typical Japanese full body apron on and matching sleeve covers (I remember Cheryl always offering to buy me one when I visited her in Japan but I declined). If you wanted more rice or clam miso soup (with the clams still in the shell) you just raised your bowel towards him and he would reach out with his small tray to receive your request. He then explained about where you can get a certificate at a museum on the way to temple 88. As well, at temple 88, you can get a nice certificate with your name on it for 2000 yen. There seemed to be all kinds of stories, which David said, with his limited Japanese, was hard to understand. There were two couples and there seemed to be a discussion on how to deal with quarrels and getting along during the walk. The pilgrimage will either make or break a relationship seemed to be the conclusion.
There is only one toilet and one sink to service the five rooms on the second floor. There were many sliding of doors and footsteps to the toilet during the night, of which, on three occasions was moi. You can tell if the toilet is in use by a small frosted window. If the light is on, you know it is occupied and you better not occupy it too long.
I think I have the minshuku routine down pat now. As David and I were walking looking for the minshuku sign, we saw this elderly man at the end of an alley way waving for us to come. We were lead to the entrance which was behind the house. There is no asking for your name. You are foreigners, so have to be the ones who are booked into the minshuku for the night. After you take off your shoes, you are led to your room by the owner with a thermos of hot water, which you can use to make a cup of green tea, with the amenities that are on the low small table in your room. There is usually a small plate with a sweet or cracker or biscuit to enjoy. Then you get ready for your summons to have a bath. David mentioned  the minshuku looks full, so don't miss your bath turn and best not to take too long, as everyone needs to take a bath before supper.
I then usually get my futon bed ready. I check the futon closet and if there are three futons, I use all three to make it about 12 inches high and then might even put two base thick blankets down followed by a comforter and one or two hard filled pillows (which amazingly have turned out to be very comfortable, as you can mold them to you head and neck).
I feel the theme of Temple 66 should be "Up in the clouds". It was a very tough climb, no doubt about it. Myself and David left at 6:30 am, after receiving a box lunch and send off by the owner. As I waited for David, I noticed the nice Japanese garden with lots of bonsai trees and orchids hanging from the trees. I asked the owner if he grew them and he said yes. He started to show me some of the new shoots on the orchids. Bet you Masa would be impressed, since he loves orchids.
Well, we headed out for the hard climb. David asked me to go ahead and we could just meet at the temple. When I started up the steep incline I remembered some of my kundalini yoga breath work to help remove the toxins from the body. So, with one step I would say a short SAT with a short breath. Then, with the next step I would say a long NAM with a long breath, to get as much of the air in my lungs out and exhale all of the toxins. I found it gave me more energy and my muscles weren't hurting. I continued this for about 30 minutes and felt great. Since I was by myself, I was able to do it loudly. At one point, I found myself getting light headed and all of a sudden saw a bicycle along the steep path. Was I hallucinating or was there a bicycle.  Was I experiencing nirvana in the clouds. David confirmed later he saw the bike as well.
As the path became a paved road, I heard this bird singing with three chirps, which I never heard before. It sounded like "keep on going", "keep on going".  As I got higher up the mountain, the mist was heavy and it was like, you were in the clouds. It got much cooler and since I was soaked with sweat, I was afraid of getting hypothermia. Along the road, because I could pick up the pace, I changed the SAT NAM to a short HUI and long HA. I found it really helped and I was able to pass another ohenro. Later at the temple, he commented, I was a strong walker and I said the breath work helped.
Not sure why some times the route makes you climb higher and then you go downhill to the Temple. Anyway, I thought I was there, but looked liked three possible ways in Japanese. There were these high steps and I thought that must be it. Well, I climbed them and was fooled. Only a cemetery. So back down I came. I asked David later, and he did the same thing.
Temple 66 was huge. It was very nice and I could have easily stayed the whole day there. The first photo is of the Buddha Hall. The next three photos are of the hundreds of Buddha statues, each with their own expression. I found them very intriguing and wanted to know what each represented. They each had numbers on the base and something written in Japanese. I saw one with 486 number so there must have been at least that number. I took lots of pictures with my camera.
It was very cool at the top and since my T-shirt was literally soaked, I quickly put on my fleece pullover. Eventually the clouds did clear and the sun came out. It took me 2 hours to climb. The owner of the minshuku said it usually takes 2.5 hours. SO I felt proud of myself. I waited for David at the top and it took him 2.75 hours. Not bad for the two of us.
When we headed out for the downhill descent there were hundreds the Buddha statues lined up along the roadway for the longest distance. The walk down seemed longer and was very muddy from the rain the day before. As well, when their were steps they were very steep.
We arrived at the bottom and headed for temple 67. At temple 67, I bid my farewell to David, as he was staying in the city, while I was booked for a minshuku Ohira, close to Temple 67. David is on a tighter schedule than me, so will be using more taxi's. I enjoyed my walk with David and said we probably won't see each other again and wished each other a great pilgrimage.
I checked in the minshuku at 3:30 pm and looks like I am the only one. I went for my shower and bath (right away as I was told it was ready) and was able to do a load of wash right away, since my pants were covered in mud and my T-shirt really needed a wash.
Hopefully, will get a good nights sleep. I can feel the climb from today on my hip flexors and knees.
The last picture is of temple 67.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Smith, intend to visit temple 66 and stay at Minshuku Ohira for the night. How did u make your reservation? Online or? If yes can provide me the link, my email is thanks for the help...David Lim from Singapore