October 23, 2012

Meguro Fudoson

One of my oldest friends grew up in the Meguro area, and whenever I visited her home, I would pass through this temple on the bus. It looks particularly spectacular in cherry blossom season, and is well worth a visit.

It wasn't until I stepped inside the temple grounds that I realized just how vast it is. Built in the year 808, Meguro Fudoson (also known as Ryusenji Temple) is part of the Tiantai sect of Buddhism, and worships the Acala, or "immovable god" (the Fudo in the title).

A small shrine directly across the street from the temple, manned by a tabby cat. Visitors can pray for a successful business.

I'm always impressed by these, for lack of a better description, dragon faucets.

A sword and flame, which looks almost medieval.

In commemoration of a famous wanderer turned leader.

A shachihoko -- the head of a tiger, the body of a fish.

Frog and babies.

 Possibly the largest hand-purification area I have ever seen.

Here, I witnessed the strangest practice: people would use the ladle on the right to get some water from the stone basin. However, instead of pouring it over their hands, they would raise the ladle high, and aim the water at the stone statue in front of them. Since the statue was slightly far away, it looked like a certain level of strength was needed, to the point where it looked like people were flinging water at it. I learned later this ritual brings good luck.

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