Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Temple 77-Doryuji; Temple 78-Goshoji; Temple 79-Tennoji

The Temple 75 service at 6 am was very interesting. What I like most about participating, when you stay at a Temple, is you get to experience the temple close hand and get to live the culture. It started with a talk from an older monk, which reminded me of the Roshi, when I was practicing at the Bodhi Zen Center in New Mexico.
After the service, we got to all go and place some incense in front of the Buddha. Then, we got to go into the pitch black Kaiden-meguri in the basement of the main hall. It is a 90 meter path, which must be walked in total darkness. At one point, there is this beautiful altar with a statue of Kukai. I enjoyed the experience. One woman in front of me didn't want to do it in the dark, so I ended up leading the rest.
The theme for today is osettai day. It is interesting some of the osettai you receive. Osettai is gifts (material or non-material)  willingly given to pilgrims. It is believed, that by giving to a pilgrim, one is actually giving to Kobo Daishi, so it is considered impolite to refuse an offer of osettai. Today while walking to temple 77, an elderly man and his middle aged son (who looked like he had down syndrome) came from their house and handed me the most precious pottery piece of an ohenro with their hands in gassho (prayer position) and said osettai. I was very moved indeed, and gave him and his son, a Canadian pin and thanked them. His son reminded me of a neighbour across the street where I live, who had down syndrome,. If I was waiting for the bus, I would go across the street, take her hand, and help her cross the street, as her elderly mother looked on. When they moved into a seniors home, she put in my mail slot the nicest thank you card. The gesture of the man and son giving me the osettai brought a lump in my throat and I got all choked up. I gave him one of my osame-fuda as well.
It seems amazing that the more Canadian pins I give away, the more there seems to be. I am sure they are multiplying.
Some other osettai I received today - a bag of candy, a block of wood painted with ohenro symbols, a snack cake and a raw hot dog. I ended up giving the hot dog to a poor starving dog along the way. I took a picture of my pottery piece with the piece of paper that was curled up inside, which I will have to get translated.
The first two pictures are at Temple 77 (statues I liked). The third picture is Temple 78. The fourth picture is of Temple 79 (with all the bus tour ohenros crowded together). And the last picture is my pottery osettai and the paper that was curled up inside it.
Temple 79 was interesting. It was very small and got very crowded, when two bus tours arrived. Usually I like to listen to their rhythmic chanting, however, because they were so close to each other and one group rushed to start the chanting, that when the second started tapping a beat, they were so out of sync, it was painful to listen to. It was like having a bad hair day or listening to someone sing off key.
Since I had already finished my routine, I decided to catch the train to my hotel for the night.
I stopped at a 100 yen store and brought a big padded envelope and packaged up the towels and other osettai I received to send to Kaz in Tokyo, to get some of the weight out of my pack.
When I arrived at the post office they had a table with some packing tape. So since the envelope seal wasn't the best, I put the free packing tape to good use. I had this sense I was being watched. I noticed they were calling out numbers, so look to see I could get one. A lady pointed me to a screen in Japanese, with buttons to select what type of service you wanted, I think. Since there was no line up anyway, I showed her the parcel and motioned which button, and she decided to send me to a poor agent, who I knew was dreading on having to serve me. I think I have it figured out on how to write the address with name, then perfecture, city, street and apt number. Kind of the reverse order. They punched in Kaz's postal code and it matches with what I have written and I ask them to write down how much and pay. Then I quickly exit, figuring I have disrupted their day enough.
Hard to believe I will be starting with Temple 80 tomorrow ( I am in the home stretch now) and then do the climb to temple 81, where I will stay close to, as there were no temple accommodations available.
Temples 81 and 82 are about 400 meters climb. Temples 84 and 85 are about 200 meter climbs. Temple 88 is suppose to be a tough 400 meter hard climb, at the end for the grand finale.
All in all, another good day and met some nice ohenros, that we kept crossing paths. Looking forward to tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck on your last few temples. Don't forget to stop and get your certificate half way to 88. Gambaru!