Friday, August 10, 2018

Marishiten Tokudaiji Temple - An Oasis of Serenity in the Hustle of Ameyoko (Tokyo)

Almost no one came to visit except one person who left just as I reached the top of the stairs. It's peaceful there. You'd hardly know that a noisy mercantile industry exists down below. Marishiten Tokudaiji Temple rises from a hillock providing an oasis in the hustle of Ameyoko, Tokyo's shopping street.

Marishiten. This photo courtesy of Paghat the Ratgirl.
The temple is a medium sized Buddhist temple that houses Marishiten (Marici)an ancient Indian goddess who gives vitality, strength, and wealth, and gets rid of evil. 

In Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, Marci is associated with light and sun. She is one of the 24 celestials. She is a beautiful woman on an open lotus; the lotus sits on the back of seven boars. 

In Japanese culture, devotions to Marici predate Zen and is geared towards a similar meditative mode to enable the warrior to achieve a more heightened spiritual level. But with pacifism spreading across Japan, the Marishiten of warriors has somehow lessened its essence. The goddess is believed to have brought good luck to the temple when it survived destruction during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the bombing of Tokyo during World War II.

The front of the temple is beautifully designed with red pillars. Inside, a golden lantern hangs in the middle of the hall. A pair of Komainu, lion-like statues, guard from the stairs. A courtyard is adorned with some plants with the statues of Nichiren and Jizo. 

Jizo is a bodhisattva (a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings) in Japanese Mahayana Buddhism who protects children, especially those who die before their parents.

Nichiren, on the other hand, was a 13th century Japanese monk who tried to reform Japanese society and Buddhism. In many ways, he was a Buddhist Martin Luther King centuries before the great Protestant reformer lived.      

I wanted to sit down and take it all in before going back to the shopping street, but there weren't any benches. It is a nice place for reflection and prayers. 

The courtyard




The mercantile epicenter of Ameyoko

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