Saturday, August 06, 2011

Buddha Statues and a Surprise

I've been visiting a bunch of local temples recently. Part of it is research for the book (I !must! finish by the end of the year!) and part it is a longtime hobby of mine. Buddhism, Buddhist history, temple architecture, gorgeous gardens, and ancient stone statues -- I love it all.

Today I climbed two mountains, visited two temples and saw hundreds of Buddhist statues. The last temple, of course, was situated on the highest mountain. It was hot. So, so hot. But I prevailed. I made it to the top only to discover the Extra Special Kannon statue was closed up for the day. There was nothing to see.

So I headed back down. Happily, on the way I discovered something that not only made the trip worthwhile, but also reminded me why I think Buddhism is a hoot.

First, I'm going to make you look at some of the photos of statues I took.

This was tiny and unique. Homemade, obviously. And a wee bit creepy.

This one was just cute and had a very non-Japanese feel to it.

They had two of these wooden Kannon statues that were absolutely stunning. Life size and I don't know how old. I couldn't believe they weren't behind climate controlled glass. Poor little bug-eaten things.

Found a head.


Now for the highlight of my day. I came across this little assortment.

Let's see, we have a jizo statue, a tanuki and a hotei. A motley crew to say the least.

But wait.

Down there...

...under the jizo, there's an offering of a cup of water and...

...two candle holders.


If we look a little closer...

Something is stuffed into the candle holders.

Hello? Is that ... and ...


I just adore the playfulness of Buddhism.


Robin said...

Too cute!

MDK said...

Nice! And what was the takehome assignment?

Anonymous said...

You just didn't use your GAIJIN POWER.
Back a long time ago, my buddy and i convinced this priest to open up the box inside a temple so we could see what was inside.
It turned out to be nothing special, just another Kanon (not old or beautiful). Don't believe every temple-tender you meet.

Mary Witzl said...

I can't remember the name of the temple in Kamakura with all of the dolls in it, but it used to amaze me. Creepy at night, but in a sweet sort of way.