Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Zojo-ji Temple

DSCF0116.JPG Later in our day, we took the trip over to the Zojo-ji Temple, which is near Shiba Park. We had noticed this temple because you can see the Tokyo Tower from our hotel room on the 32nd floor and the temple complex is right next to it. From a distance, it looked like a large site. We looked it up and realized it was a famous Pure Land temple associated with the Tokugawa Shogunate. It seemed like a nice afternoon trip. We arrived about an hour before dusk and were able to witness the Pure Land priests leading chants in the main temple.

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We also visited one of the smaller areas nearby that was filled with Jizo statues in baby clothes. There are rows upon rows of these, probably hundreds, with people praying near them, making offerings, and fixing or adding clothes. It was rather eerie.

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In the course of this, we met a nice elderly man who, in broken English, made it very clear that Kannon was his mother and he loved his mother very much. It was touching to see him stroke the face of the Kannon statue while telling us this and then proceeding to wash the statue. (Kannon is the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who hears all prayers, for those unfamiliar with her in the Chinese and Japanese traditions.)

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As it started getting dark, we went off in search of dinner and finally some evening rest.