Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meguro Fudo

I spent today in a fine film of cold sweat, despite lots of drinks and rest, but worth the effort!
I walked from Meguro station to the area where the Daien-ji Temple has 500 Rakan (deities entrusted by Buddha to remain in the world as role models for ordinary people) stone bas-reliefs. The Rakan here are associated with a big fire in 1772 which started at the temple and spread to Nihonbashi and Asakusa, leaving several thousand dead in its wake.
But what took my fancy was the individual nature of the different shrine features, A bell in a lantern, the dragonfly wire rest for the water ladles, the automatic fountain (it ran when you went close, rather than all the time). The beautiful detail of the Jizo statues, the faces on some of the small statues, especially the little one on the turtle rock
My next stop was the Kaifuku-ji Temple, whose red-painted gate is set back from the street. A pair of memorial stones in front of the gate commemorate the collapse of Eitaibashi Bridge during the Hachiman festival in 1807 and inside is a small beautiful garden with a rock garden (literally) A bonsai garden on a rock!

Along the street were all the small stalls outside shops and cafes, but I turned down the road to Ryusenji, the Fudo temple along with a steady stream of people.
As I approached the Shrine (up a long flight of stairs; obviously blessings require some effort!) I could hear drumming and chanting, from the main building so I headed up there. There was a crowd of people behind a black lattice screen (I think you contribute to the Temple to go in) and priests were chanting and drumming as well as with clapping sticks. It was very atmospheric with more people inside the entrance standing with hands clasped and heads bowed and others who arrived tossing coins over their head to get into the huge collection box. On either side were two monks with a candle rack and for 100 yen they light a candle for you. The drumming and chanting stopped, and then the priests turned to us and did a fancy action that tucked their 'baton" under the arm and covered their hands with kimono sleeves, then the main priest sprinkled water over the audience, (drops only) then we all bowed and left.
I then went outside to the bottom of the stairs and sure enough the procession came out down the stairs.
The other main blessing sought was from the statue in the pool, ?Fudo? where a fountain of water from a dragon's mouth fed the pool. Attendees then poured water over the statue and said a prayer.
I then went down to the main area where there was lots of activity but I will record that tomorrow.

1 comment:

"See Me"... said...

Hi Mich
It looks and sounds wonderful. The details on the water rest and sculptures look beautiful.
The fire must have been enormous- how far is Asakusa from there?
Hope the days cool a little.

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