Nanzoin 南蔵院 – A Buddhist Traveller

Nanzoin belongs to the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism.

Urban legend says that the abbot and numerous devottees of this temple had won the lottery and their donations helped to fund the construction of this huge and wonderful temple ground.

Interestingly, there is a shrine dedicated to prayer for luck and you can get lucky pencil for a small donation there. The lucky pencil is meant for writing lottery tickets. Isn’t that a thoughtful souvenirs for lottery player? On hindsight, I should have gotten one for my folks.

Many temples in Japan have their own unique lucky charms to be adopted for a specified sum of money. I believe the money helps to run the temples. The charm or talisman is also a souvenir to remind us of our visit.

The main tourist magnet in Nanzoin is the giant reclined buddha. (compare the size of the offices beside the statue and you will know what I mean)

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Before reaching this Giant Statue that is almost as big as the Statue of Liberty, you will pass by various shrines that are dedicated to prayer for luck and success in life. The autumn colors and the various interesting constructions there are captivating and beautiful.

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In front of this giant statue is a resting shed with vending machines that sells drinks. (tips: bring some nice fruits or snack to enjoy)

While sitting inside this shed and drinking your favorite beverage, you can admire the beauty of this giant statue.

This statue represents Sakyamuni Buddha passing into Parinirvana and is surrounded by statues of his enlightened disciples (Arhats), mostly passed into parinirvana except some (according to Buddhist legends)

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While I was sitting down and simply staring at this giant statue, soaking in the serenity and quietness, I started to think about impermanence.

Sitting in front of this serene statue, impermanence seems peaceful.

Recollecting the earlier prayers at the various shrines for luck and success in life, I am now sitting calmly and facing impermanence. Wondered what was all that fuss about earlier on…

Involuntarily, the refuge prayers were chanted softly as I gazed upon the serene face of Buddha.

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In Buddhism, Buddha taught that existence is a never ending loop of death and rebirth. From that perspective, there is a kind of assurance that we move on. Yet there is also a fear of the unknown because we never know what our next birth will be.

As we live our present life to the fullest by being nice to our love ones and try to create our own “happiness”, ultimately we know, deep inside us;

that all those worldly happiness that meant so much to us are all impermanent.

Instead of being fearful, Buddha taught us the method to stop the tiresome loop of death and rebirth. He demonstrated how to face this ultimate challenge with serenity and poise. Most importantly, he demonstrated how we can be free from that nonsensical state of existence; By gaining ENLIGHTENMENT.

Should we fail to attain enlightenment in this very life, the spiritual practice towards enlightenment taught by Buddha will help us obtain good karma and wisdom for a better rebirth.

With that faith in mind, I continue to enjoy my vacation….. (feeling blessed)

I think the abbot has his sense of “humor” after all, praying for luck and success and then be reminded of impermanence. (a HUGE reminder, lol)


Getting there

From Hakata JR station, take the Yutaka Line towards NOGATA. It’s a 25 minutes ride. Alight at the Kidonanzoimmae Station. It cost 370 yen.

(tips: At Hakata station, take a quick picture of the various stations on the line between Hakata Station and Kidonanzoimmae Station, counting each stations helped me alight at the right station. Plus, the google map virtually map my location as I travel along the railway line on the map)

The station master at Kidonanzoimmae Station wasn’t busy when I arrived at the station. So I asked him to let me keep my ticket as a souvenir. I had a travel journal and I asked him for the station’s souvenir stamp too (which he gladly oblidged) See the cute red reclining Buddha souvenir stamp below? Made me very happy!

journal

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