Sunday, August 3
Nara- Where the temples are very big and old
Rememer Osaka and how hot I thought it was? Well Michi informs us it was the hottest day of the year so far. Lucky us and today is going to be as hot.
Today it’s Todaiji Temple. The largest wooden structure containing one very big Buddha. I don’t if it was the bells ringing or the solemnity of the place, the energy or what but I found myself overwhelmed by the sight and had to wipe away tears streaming down my face. I was very verklempt.
Nara park is occupied by hundreds of tame deer who are normally docile until you feed them with deer cookies, then they are pushy and aggressive. I wisely chose not to feed them.
The real stunner was another temple in the park Hokke-do built in 740 AD. That is not a typo and I just couldn’t wrap my head around something being that old and still standing. The statues in the prayer hall are national treasures. No cameras and no shoes allowed.
There was a wide bench covered with tatami and I sit seiza next to a Japanese woman deep in reflection. I am moved by her and the atmosphere of the quiet hall. While she prays, she retrieves a small red box from her purse, looks at it briefly then puts it back with significance. I follow along as she puts her hands together in prayer. As she gets up she gives me a small bow of acknowledgement or thanks- I’m not sure which, and is gone.
Jeeze what’s with all this emotionalism? It must be PMS. My period is due to come and spoil a vacation-again.