Buddha Of Fire

The last afternoon of 2013 was spent at the temple, walking off my mum’s hearty lunch.
A celebratory sign was up on the San-mon (山門)…

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Gasho (賀正) means “New Year Celebration”, by the way.
After walking through the San-mon, on my left was Chouzu-ya (手水舎)…

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A water-filled basin, called chōzubachi, are used by worshipers for washing their left hands, right hands, mouth and finally the handle of the water ladle to purify themselves before approaching the main hall.
Next to the water ablution pavilion, there was a statue of Buddha called Enmei-jizo (延命地蔵)…

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This statue was erected by voluntary donations gathered from all over Japan in the early 18th century.
The jizo is also known as Yaoya Oahichi no Nure-botoke (八百屋お七のぬれ仏). It is alleged that the statue was dedicated for the repose of the soul of Yaoya Oshichi – Greengrocer Oshichi, a daughter of the greengrocer Tarobei in Edo in the 17th century. She started a fire in order to be reunited with the man she had a crush on – her tale goes like this. She met this guy who she fell in love with at the temple where her family evacuated during a fire in her neighbourhood. After the fire was put out, everyone went home and she lost touch with him. So infatuated she was, she decided to set a fire to her parent’s house so she could see him again at the temple. She did carried out arson and as the result she was burned at the stake. The story became the subject of plays and her love story became a legend.

Oh well, a puppy love with a lethal consequence. Love should hot but shouldn’t burn down a town…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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