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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

February 7th, 2007

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01:41 pm - Piety on the pilgrimage
"A mountain temple, Senyuji stands out for having had its main image carved by a woman. The figure of the thousand-armed Kannon was carved in the seventh century by a young woman, who is supposed to have prostrated herself after every cut of the knife. Several of the temples where the main image was carved by the Daishi also claim this kind of reverence during the making of the image. The next level of holiness in carving requires prostrating and reciting a prayer before each cut, as well as the post-cut recitation."

    -Temple 58, Senyuji1
This particular quote is one I stumbled across while bringing mazisexton a copy of the book it's found in. There's something about this sort of action that speaks to me deeply.

The Shikoku pilgrimage interests me quite a bit: architecturally, spiritually, and academically. To say nothing of the fact that I promised mazisexton that I'd make it happen sometime with her.

But today, I ran across the paper I'd written that quote down on, and I remembered how much I just wanted to share it, to mention it, particularly to ADF Dedicants working on their understanding of piety. And I remembered how good that felt. And I certainly remembered the fact that that's really all I want to do on so many days. And that felt good to remember.

1 - p. 195: Readicker-Henderson, Ed. The Traveler's Guide to Japanese Pilgrimages. Weatherhill:New York, NY. 1995
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Current Music: "Little Miss Magic", -JB

(10 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 7th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
If you're thinking of making a pilgrimage to southern Japan, and if you don't think it will be temple overload for you, I think you should also visit Koyasan in northern Wakayama. There are almost 100 temples on the mountain there. It's stunning. You can get there on a direct train/cable car from Osaka.

Having been to a large number of temples in Japan, and also visited most of the major Christian cathedrals of middle and northern Italy, Mt. Koya is still, bar none, THE holiest place I have ever been--particularly the Okunoin graveyards leading to the resting place of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. It is a living community of Buddhist monks and scholars, and although it's gotten slightly more touristy since it became a world heritage site a few years ago, it's still amazing. Simply amazing. I've gone there a couple dozen times, including three hikes up the Choishimichi (20km mountain trail from Kudoyama to Koyasan) and the up-all-night new year's eve during my week-long fast last winter. It kicks so. Much. Ass. Go there. Go there now.

...or, ya know...whenever you can...

Date:February 7th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
When he completes the "88" temple Shikoku pilgrimage with me (something I have already done and the reason I am now in Japan) we would go to Koyasan (somewhere I have already been) as it is a required stop in connection with the pilgrimage.
[User Picture]
Date:February 7th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
The process for carving in this instance reminds me of a process for making runes.

Thanks for sharing that.

Oh, and I also someday would like to make the Shikoku pilgrimage.
[User Picture]
Date:February 7th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to imagine carving a statue like that- stopping with each & every stroke to pray. It would probably drive me nuts, since I tend to just want to keep going. I could pray *while* carving easily enough but the stopping would make it very hard to connect with the piece I was working on.
[User Picture]
Date:February 7th, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC)
Ah, nice citation of sources, don't see enough of that on LJ these days... :)
[User Picture]
Date:February 8th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC)
That's because most LJer's don't care. :)

Whinings of "Oh, it's my personal journal!" preclude any need for academic accountability.
Date:February 12th, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
Honey, that whining happens everywhere, not just on LJ. ;D
Date:February 7th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
I still cannot believe how much that book (the Readicker-Henderson) sucked in regards to the 88 temple pilgrimage (I did manage to find my own copy too), his observations were often typically "gajin" (re: stereotypical Marco Polo syndrome that many European and North American people have when visiting or living in Japan).

By the way, it is not the only pilgrimage in Shikoku (duh), when you come we'll have to overlap the 88 with one to Fudo just because I believe Fudo can be traced to Agni and I think it would be interesting to see.

I look forward to walking through the first ten temples in a few days to begin the second official trek on the pilgrimage (with the Japanese way of doing it I actually just "completed" it for a fourth time yesterday with my Shingon Buddist teacher, a Revered who lives in Tokyo).

I am praying for a farm house. Moving back to Japan, to be on Shikoku (and thus closer to the pilgrimage and Kobo Daishi) is an act of piety for me.
[User Picture]
Date:February 10th, 2007 06:12 am (UTC)
Where is Senyuji?
Date:February 12th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
Senyūji (仙遊寺) is a temple in the town of Imabari of the Ehime prefecture on the island of Shikoku (where I am now, wheeeeee!).

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