Oct 10, 2014

At Hotokuji

 The main building is on the left and on the right there is what looks like a small doorless shed. The banners in front contain a mantra, a short phrase that is repeatedly chanted. I don't recall seeing this one before and I am not sure how to pronounce it, but I know it is a mantra because of the first two characters that spell out the Sanskrit word meaning 'praise'.
 Inside the shed I found a Buddha statue and fresh flowers. I wanted to look around some more but I did not want to disturb whatever was going on inside.
Back out on the road but facing in the opposite direction from when I came up the bank, I saw that there was a statue of Shinran and a large sign giving the name of the temple. It also says that this is the Shingon sect, an esoteric Mahayana sect. There most impressive ceremony is when they burn wooden sticks with words written on them. The fire is increased by the constant application of oil. The monk sits in front of the altar with the fire in a container between him and the altar. He chants sutras as he reads the writing, usually just a couple of kanji, and then tosses them in the fire. I have seen videos of this sort of ceremony but I would like to attend one in person sometime.

I retraced my steps back to the riverside and turned right headed for the Shinto shrine that is shown on my maps.

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