Another beautiful morning on the Ohenro (Pilgrim) trail. There are 88 temples on the Shikoku Buddhist Pilgrimage and I’ve seen them all. Some I’ve seen once, and some I’ve seen a bunch of times. It’s a great pleasure to introduce to you the Ichinomiya Temple, right here in Kagawa prefecture. This temple is very interesting as it is the temple of the “Medicine Buddha” (called Yakushi). This is the place where one would come for healing and to cleanse their karma.

Let’s check it out.

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The front gate.

 

Once inside go to the washing basin that you find just within the front gate.

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Purify your hands

Take the ladle and pour water on your left hand. Then pour water on your right hand. Some people drink a little water, but drink from the palm of your hand and not the ladle directly. If the water looks a bit not to your liking, it is not necessary. Dry your hands and enjoy the grounds.

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It is said that if you put your head inside and can remove it without trouble your karma will be cleansed. If you can’t get your head out… well, your traveling companions may leave you behind. So, keep that in mind. When we arrived we didn’t find legs dangling out so I assume it was pretty safe. Be gentle with the site and just remember that there will be thousands of pilgrims coming after your visit.

Here is a photo of the lotus sutra. I like this statue.

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This temple is the place of the “Medicine Buddha”. In my own very amateur research I pulled up the 12 vows of the Medicine Buddha, identified in the Medicine Buddha Sutra:

  1. To illuminate with radiance and to enable anyone to become the Buddha as well.
  2. To awaken sentient beings through his light.
  3. To provide others with material things they need.
  4. To correct wrongful teachings, and inspire others to a more correct path.
  5. To help others follow moral teachings, even if they fail.
  6. To heal others who suffer from deformities, or other physical ailments.
  7. To give relief to the poor and sick.
  8. To help women become reborn as men if they so wish it.
  9. To help heal mental illness and delusion.
  10. To help those who suffer under oppression.
  11. To relieve hunger and thirst.
  12. To provide clothing to the poor and the cold.

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With almost all the temples on the 88 Buddhist Temple Pilgrimage I am always amazed how close you can get to the statues and the buildings. There is a great trusting openness that runs through the entire route. The grounds are open (and often free), the statues are out in the open, the approaches to the temple are open, and the people who tend the grounds are also open, with warm hearts and kind welcoming voices. It’s really important that we remember that we are visitors, guests, and fellow pilgrims. Mindfulness, kindness, and mutual respect go a long way.

Enjoy the grounds, take photos, make great memories, and see something unique, original, and mostly undiscovered.