Shimizu Lodging Temple – July 2, 2017

I’d like to share with you the significance to me of staying at Shimizu Bo. The story of Shimizu bo. 

Every day during a priests stay and training at Shingyo Dojo the day is begun with Suigyo, the water purification and wakey upy ceremony. Following that the hike is made from the dojo up the mountain to Kuon-ji to lead morning prayers at the head temple. These morning services are attended by pilgrims visiting the temple as well as local town folk. 

There were two things I looked forward to every morning which kept me encouraged. One was eye contact or a subtle bowing of the head from the woman who owns and runs the religious goods store in Minobu village, Wakamatsuya. Every day she would come and sit in a spot which I could see. It was very uplifting to be supported in such a way by someone who only knows me as a customer and almost complete stranger. 

Both the husband and wife have always treated myself and other Americans with kindness and generosity. You might say the generosity has possibly exceeded the financial gain from our few purchases. It isn’t always about money thankfully. 

So marching up the hill to morning services I kept going even in pain or exhaustion because I knew someone would be there looking for me, checking to see if I was still there. She was a witness to me and it mattered to her that I was there. How can each of us give someone else that gift of being their witness of being the person to whom their existence matters? 

The other encouraging person was the priest at Shimizu bo. Since talking is discouraged during Shingyo Dojo it was several weeks before I knew much beyond th fact that every morning a young priest would be standing on the side of the road and would chant and bow as we passed by. Of course I knew it wasn’t for me I still felt as if it were for me. 

It turns out he does this for all the Shingyo Dojo classes. He comes out everyday and on days he can’t be there he would send messages explaining his absence and offering an apology. It was very touching. The last few days of Shingyo Dojo he gets really crazy. One day he had everyone wear specially painted shirts announcing 5 days to go. On the third or fourth day from. The last he drown along side of us on a little scooter with a flag. 

Everyday he was there he smiled and bowed to us. He was unique. He was special and important to me. After we were let out of the monastery the first thing I did was go up there to thank him for all he did. Perhaps others had different ways of communicating their gratitude buy I did not see anyone else go there and thank him. Everyone quickly left for their homes. I can’t blame them for wanting to get home. I was sad though that for all the time he gave us more could not take a few minutes to say thank you. Perhaps it is the the Japanese way. 

I had hoped at some point I would be able to stay at his temple. I was happy that this time it was possible. 

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About Ryusho 龍昇

Nichiren Shu Buddhist priest. My home temple is Myosho-ji, Wonderful Voice Temple, in Charlotte, NC. You may visit the temple’s web page by going to http://www.myoshoji.org. I am also training at Carolinas Medical Center as a Chaplain intern. It is my hope that I eventually become a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently I am also taking healing touch classes leading to become a certified Healing Touch Practitioner. I do volunteer work with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (you may learn more about them by following the link) caring for individuals who are HIV+ or who have AIDS/SIDA.