Seigan-ji Temple


Facing oneself calmly in each stroke.


Text : Wakako Sato / Photo : Takashi Oka


  


  It is a sudden change from the bustle of Shinkyogoku area, big Amitabha will welcome you after you go through a temple gate.



  Seigan-ji Temple is the grand head temple of the Seizan-Fukakusa school of the Jodo sect. At the order of Emperor Tenchi, it was built in Nara prefecture in Asuka period. After that, it moved to Nishijin area in Kyoto (address : Ogawa nishi-iru, Moto Seiganji-dori, Kamigyo-ku) since the whole capital also moved to Kyoto as well. When Hideyoshi Toyotomi created Teramachi in Kyoto, then it moved again to where it is now.





  It is very attractive to be able to transcribe a sutra even though the temple is in down town. After you listen to a preaching of a monk, you are going to pray and chant Heart Sutra in front of ‘Hitokoto Kannon’ at the main temple, then you are going to receive powder zuko scent on your hands to purify your body, and finally putting ganko in your mouth to purify your soul in order to move on toward transcribing a sutra.



  Taking a deep breath and have your mind empty, then you can start copying sutra one by one forever. After for a while, your mind becomes flat and you start feeling nothing. Head temple section chief, Mr. Koyu Hasegawa told us, “By doing only one thing and then your mind can settle down calmly and create breadth of mind. If you do this on your daily life, you will never have any disturbs in your mind and start being able to control yourself more than before”.


  It took for about an hour. Transcribing a sutra, which you face yourself on each stroke, has done and now you are going to write down your wish such as ’Shogeijotatsu (improvement of all crafts)’ and ‘Mubyosokusai (sound health)’, then finally you dedicate it to Hitokoto Kannon and receive their Goshuin stamp. Usually, Goshuin stamp will be granted as a proof to the people who transcribed a sutra. This temple will give Goshuin stamp of Hitokoto Kannon to the people who finish transcribing a sutra in order to respect the old way. Mr. Hasegawa said, “It is good to go around several temples to collect stamps, but it is also good to stay one place more than an hour slowly”.




  This temple is also known as many kinds of Goshuin stamps. Starting with the main Goshuin stamp of Amitabha, a stamp of Honen Shonin who is a found of the Jodo sect, and a stamp of his leading disciple, a founder of Seizan school of the Jodo sect, Seizan Shonin.



  It is interesting to know that Sei Shonagon visited here and was converted to Buddhism and then became a nun, and also Izumi Shikibu and Matsuno Maru, who is a concubine of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, became a believer in Buddhism here. It is famous for ‘Nyoninojo Temple (So many women gave their lives in this temple)’ and there is a colorful Goshuin stamp of Izumi Shikibu.


  The 55th Anrakuan Sakuden Shonin is known as ‘a founder of Rakugo (a comedy storyteller)’, so that people come here to get Goshuin stamp of Sakuden Shonin for their improvement of performing arts. (Both are limited edition, so that once they are all out, not more prints available)


  Since I thought of each letter on a sutra as Buddha and able to spend times by transcribing with all my heart, my distracting thoughts were gone when I left the temple and reset my feeling completely.


 


 


ADDRESS : 453 Shinkyogoku Sakurano-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City


PHONE : +81(0)75-221-0958


HOURS : 9:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m.


WEBSITE : http://www.fukakusa.or.jp/


EMAIL : info@fukakusa.or.jp


 


【Reservation for transcribing a sutra experience】


Date and time : November 12th (Sat), December 3rd (Sat), January 21st (Sat) / from 2:00 p.m.


CHARGE : 1,300 yen


*If you are going to make a reservation, please let us know your date, name and contact information by calling or e-mailing to us the day before.


*If we have plenty of room available, you can make a reservation on the spot.


 


★Next TRAVEL IDEA spot of ‘Goshuin and Sho - to explore the beauty of a Japanese characters’ by Rumiko Kunitomi is ‘Hozo-ji Temple

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