Wednesday, October 5, 2016 – Temple 13 (Dainichi-ji)

Spiritual Awakening – I am reminded that each perfecture (like a province in Canada) has a place of spiritual training name. There are four and this is the first one called Spiritual Awakening. 

Today ended up be a rainy and sometimes very hard rain day. So I didn’t have time to stop and take many photos. I had to concentrate on always adjusting from rain coat, to poncho to umbrella to determine what worked best for the current rain condition. Sometimes the rain stopped, so as to not sweat, off came the rain gear. A few rain drops, out with the umbrella and as the rain got heavier, out with the rain poncho. One time it was raining so hard it looked like hail bouncing off the pavement, but no it was large rain drops.

So, at 2 am, as I write this blog, since I don’t have pictures to share, I will reflect on my status and Spiritual Awakening thus far.

On the second day my lap bag strap broke just as we were at Temple 11. With the gracious help of duc tape Bob brought from Canada I did my best to repair it. I don’t want to lose my lap bag as it has my passport, money, stampbook, basically my critical stuff in it. On the hard climb to Temple 12 the strap let go and I had to attach it to my day pack. Usually I would leave my day pack on a bench at the Temple entrance and just go with my lap pack (my valuables). If for chance my day pack got stolen I could always replace it, whereas, I need my passport to get home. It has been a pain dealing with the broken lap bag, but hey, not the end of world. I have been looking for a temple with a gift shop to buy a proper ohenro shoulder bag but so far no luck. I know there are some temples that sell them eventually but not sure which ones. This is part of my Spiritual Awakening and maybe Kobo Daishi is telling me, it is time to have a proper pilgrim bag. Until then, I am sure I will survive.

On the feet subject, so far so good. Before the climb to Temple 12, I was gently massaging my feet at the end of the day and low and behold I noticed a bump on the side of my heel. Yep a blister. Didn’t even feel it. I used a needle to drain it and am trying Bob’s duc tape solution to see how it works. After day two, no problem. I don’t even know it is there. Other than that my feet are doing well. I am stopping more and taking my shoes off to cool them down.

On the muscle front, now that is a different story. My calves are very stiff in the morning and my legs. Boy, it takes awhile to get them moving in the morning or to go to the washroom in the middle of the night. Now I know what my mom must have gone thru with her hip replacement. Yes mom, I am thinking about you and hope your healing process is going well.

At my 1 am pee break to the washroom, I was reminded of the Bodhi in New Mexico where I was studying Buddhism under the 100 year old roshi, how we would have to do cleaning as part of our practice. The washroom needed some TLC cleaning. The sink was dirty. The urinal was dirty in the front. I remembered at the Bodhi we had to clean the washrooms every day and they were inspected. If you missed something, well, you just had to do it again til you got it right. So I thought, the cleaning supplies are sitting there, no one is around, why not clean them as a thanks to the temple. If I do it quietly it shouldn’t cause a problem. I remembered Masa telling me when he tried calling to book that they were short staffed at the temple. As I scrubbed away, it reminded me of my times at the Bodhi, since I heard recently that my dear friend Teshin (a nun at the Bodhi)  had passed away. Well, Teshin, here’s to you. Hope I cleaned it to meet your standards.

On our walk to Temple 13, Bob stopped at a post office to try his debit card to get money from the ATM. He has been trying with no luck to get it to work. Talk about spiritual awakening, the thought of running out of cash. I jokingly told him he could take a rice bowl and be a true pilgrim and live off of the alms giving of people like Kobo Daishi did. He didn’t like that option. The small post office had three staff. After several failed attempts, there was a recording in English saying see staff for help. We looked at each other and since the small post office wasn’t busy, we decided to go for it and ask for help. This one staff member called a support number ( we assume) and talked for awhile and had Bob try it several times. After 30 minutes, the verdict was the chip was malfunctioning. At one point the manager came out and asked where we were from. I said Canada, as Bob was in no mood for a conversation. He said he visited Canada, Banff, Niagara falls. I said very nice. I asked if he visited Toronto. He said yes. I said oh, my friend from Toronto. Bob then said yes and talked about Toronto. It helped get Bob’s mind off of the delema he was in. At the end, Bob accepted he was scewed (to say politely) with no way to use his debit card for cash. The manager asked if we wanted a coffee. We politely said no thanks, that we had to be on our way. He said just a minute, and came out with two cold cans of a lime drink as osettai. Since, poor Bob was sweating like a poll cat thru the whole ordeal, we stopped and enjoyed our osettai and it was very tasty. We have been looking for the same thing in the vending machines now.

Later on we tried at 7 eleven and again his debit card failed with an invalid chip message. Finally after two attempts he was able to get a visa cash advance. So, Bob was pleased, he won’t be standing in front of temples with his rice bowl begging for alms. I told him one option is he could borrow the money from me, but my interest rates were very high ( just kidding). So far my debit card has been working fine and demonstrated to Bob how it should work. 

So, I will attach a picture of statues I took earlier but didn’t share yet as I know my Auntie Laura and mom like to see pictures.

Here is a picture of my Auntie and my mom (who are twins), in the hospital after her hip replacement two weeks ago. Hope you are both doing well at 83.

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