Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Salvador: Luck and healing at Renkei-ji Temple in Kawagoe

Jeepney Jinggoy

KAWAGOE, my host pointed me to that direction. It’s Japan’s “Little Edo” located in Saitama prefecture. It seemed from knowing I have to travel to another prefecture from where I was. However, it’s only a 30-minute trade ride away from Tokyo.

Arriving at the Hankawagoe Station, I was eager to see the city’s old architectural buildings. Structures different from the centuries old castles and temples. But even before reaching the attraction, I got sidetracked by—guess what—another temple.

Renkei-ji Temple is a historic Jodo Shrine temple founded in the Muromachi Period that honors the deity Amida Nyorai. Every eighth day of the month, various activities like storytelling, flea markets, lectures, etc. are held in the temple’s precincts.

I came across two stories how the temple was founded, and both stories have Renkeini Taishi, mother of Daidoji Masahagi, a general and the Lord of Kawagoe Castle.

One story is that the temple was established by Renkei Taishi in 1554. She built the temple to provide a sanctuary for the people.

The other story relates that the priest Kanyo was the founder of the Renkeiji Temple. Kanyo was the nephew of Renkeini, who invited him to Kawagoe, where he founded the Renkeiji temple in 1558.

Enshrined as a buddha in the main hall is Lord Donryu, who helped children and those in need. This is one of the reasons why Renkei-ji Temple is frequently visited by people praying for safety for family, child birth and rearing.

Another attraction of the temple is wooden image of Obinzurusama, a disciple of Buddha. It sits in front of the main hall’s prayer area and is known for its divine power to heal. The believers follow the custom of rubbing a part of the statue corresponding to the sick parts of their bodies.

Also enshrined in the temple is Fukurokuju, one of the Koedo Kawagoe’s Shichifukujin (Seven Lucky Gods or Seven Gods of Fortune) and the god of wisdom, luck, longevity, wealth and happiness.

Renkei-ji Temple is the fifth stop on the tour of Seven Divinities of Good Luck temples.

Perhaps my visit to this temple was fated. Was I there to be healed? Or just add more luck to what I already have? Maybe both.

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