Friday, 21 September 2012

Take Me To The Temple


A four hour plane ride from Hong Kong lies the land of sumo, sushi and the rising sun. Japan.

First stop, The Sensoji Buddhist temple in Asakusa.

The temple was completed in 645AD, a boggling one and a half millennia ago and dedicated to the goddess of mercy.

The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. 









Many age old Buddhist traditions are observed at the temple.

The first of these is a box of chopsticks. You remove a stick at random and it sends you to a specified draw, which holds your fortune.





Good Fortune


Fair Fortune



And....... er, my Fortune


 Predictably, my fortune foretold of doom and disaster. My friends nodded in sympathy. One helpfully chipped in that the silver lining of perpetual chaos is endless excitement.  But "your wishes will not be realised" didn't sound particularly exciting to me.

Luckily, the Buddhists (the crafty lot) have a solution for the likes of me. You take your bad fortune and wrap it around a special frame, effectively giving you a clean karmic slate.
 Luck be a lady tonight.

I was extra diligent in triple knotting my sentence.


Then there was the burning incense, to cure ailments and sickness. You approach the fragrant smoke and let it float over you and wish for health.

 It was really moving to watch children wheeling their elderly parents towards the incense and standing with their eyes closed, praying for them.



And to wash away our sins, we take sacred water in a ladle with our right hand and pour it over the left. And then like good little sinners, repeat with the other hand.










At the very heart of the temple there's an area where you bow your head, pray and make a wish. As always, I was first in line. Any excuse to wish for.... world peace.



Now that I was cleansed and smiling once again, I had my palm read by an old little man with transparent rheumy blue eyes, with our Japanese friend Miya translating.

He gazed at the lines on my hands in deep concentration. A magnifying glass was produced and the huge quantity of energy lines emanating from my heart were studied with curiosity. I quipped that maybe I needed a cardiogram; the joke really didn't translate well. 

Whilst I won't divulge what he told me, some of it was remarkably accurate and specific.







Now that we had completed our mini pilgrimage, we could do what women do best. Everything... Shop.

Asakusa Market


















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3 comments:

  1. Niceee post sis. Ali B

    ReplyDelete
  2. Japan is awfully exciting and one of the amazing places on our little earth:)
    Wait 'till you get to Harajuku station,that's one of the quirkiest :)

    Maya xx

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