At Fukuji-in we met Okabe Roshi, who had served as Keido Chisan Koho Zenji’s chaplain for many years, including the time when Rev. Master Jiyu was serving as his junior chaplain. Here, left to right, are Prof. Shimizu, Okabe Roshi, myself and Noguchi Roshi. Reverend Okabe is my Dharma uncle and Reverend Noguchi a Dharma cousin It certainly felt like being with family while visiting at this small temple as we were able to meet in an informal way.
This was the last visit on a very full day. First Sojiji in the morning where we met Oyama Roshi a senior lecturer who had visited Shasta Abbey in 1979 and remembered Rev. Master Jiyu, I could write pages on that visit alone. Then there was the memorable Japanese lunch and then the time with these wonderful monks. Noguchi Roshi did much to make arrangements for a stay at a temple while we are traveling this next week and asked if we would come back on May 1st, ‘for more talking’ as he put it. We will be there.
In the afternoon we visited Fukuji-in with Professor Shimizu. This is a small temple in the Asakusa area of Tokyo where Keido Chisan Koho Zenji was resident priest during World War 2 – when the original temple was destroyed in 1945 – and which he worked to rebuild.
At Fukuji-in we met the present resident priest – Rev. Noguchi – and together we held a short service at Keido Chisan’s memorial tablet in the cemetery, which was just a short hop across the road. We did a second memorial for Koho Zenji’ mother and parents of Professor Shimizu. Fukuju-in is Professor Shimizu’s family temple.
On Friday we enjoyed a Japanese-style lunch offered by Prof. Shimizu, Keido Chisan Koho Zenji’s grand-niece. She recently retired from a university career as a physicist researching and teaching quantum optics. We all really enjoyed her company and appreciated her generosity.
Over lunch she shared some of her presonal childhood memories of her great-uncle with us, and how he encouraged her in her studies. She mentioned that he had instilled into her the importance of education for woman and this in turn influenced her in her professional life as a teacher.
The last two days have been very busy and today we need to be at the station before nine to make it to the temple we will be staying at tonight before evening. We are travelling to west Japan today and will return on the 26th April. Opportunities to post during the next week are likely to be limited to a visit to an internet cafe in Kyoto or Nagoya. However here’s a little information about recent activities.
On Thursday Iain had to collect his passport from the Chinese Embassy so we took the opportunity to visit Akihabara, the “Electric Town” area of Tokyo where there are hundreds of stores selling all the latest electronic gear. I was a bit like a kid in a candy store however the noise level was such that my purchase of a camera was done at double quick time.
Here is the Vice Abbot of Chouju-in, a Soto Zen Temple in the countryside near Narita.
Thanks to Eiko for making the visit to this temple possible. We enjoyed our short stay and will probably go back during Golden Week towards the end of the month if possible. Everything in this small temple was familiar, the priest was friendly and spoke English well.
In the Ihaido (a section of the temple where memorial tablets are enshrined) we saw 88 bags of sand, with the temple seal on each bag, which had been collected from the temples on the classic pilgrimage around the island of Shikoku. Thus the merit of the pilgrimage was offered for the benefit of all those enshrined in the Ihaido, and all beings.