Saturday, 5 April 2014

Fukaura: Engakuji and Benten-jima

While up in Odate, Hiro's parents took Hiro's older niece and me to Fukaura in Aomori.  The main appeal was returning to a temple, Engaku-ji, which I'd been to in the summer of 2011.  Hiro's nieces are into calligraphy and I wanted to show them the Sanskrit written in the temple there. Sanskrit, from my observations, is not commonly seen in temples in Japan.  I was talking to someone the other day who is doing a Masters on Buddhist matters and apparently Sanskrit is a feature that's not altogether uncommon in Shingon temples. And, as it turns out Engakuji is a Shingon temple (though apparently it was probably Tendai-shu originally.) 

The Japan Sea Coast

Engaku ji
The Sanskrit that took me back there
Mercy, Mildness,Kindness
Jizo: 6 wishes for children
Hope, Peace, Cheerfulness

Explanation about the Jizo: the jizo will guard children against
the vices that lead to the "path to hell".
Perhaps that's not a good translation.

Temples commonly have wooden  ema  for sale.
In this case all the  ema were paper.

Benten-jima is just across the road from Engaku-ji.
Benten is a Japanized Hindu goddess whose shrines are often located near water.
(Click for lots of detail about Benten.)
Benten jima, which despite the name isn't really an island.

Views from Benten jima

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