This is the 10th video in our series on Beginner Buddhism, and was the funnest to film. This was filmed while I was in Japan, thanks to the help of “John” from the blog Buddha and Tea. John is kind enough to always show me parts of Tokyo and Buddhist temples I don’t know about since he’s lived in Tokyo for 30 years and is an avid follower of Buddhism.
The video was taken at a small temple in the suburbs of Tokyo called Setagaya Kannon-ji (homepage here). This is a temple affiliated with the more famous Asakusa Temple in downtown Tokyo, also known as Sensoji.
Anyhow, the video was fun to film. We came to the temple around noontime when there was no one really around. Someone was using a leaf blower at this time, which you can hear, but this soon stopped and we could continue. The temple is slow, but lovely, and they kindly invited us for a Goma ceremony later in the afternoon. During lunchtime, we wandered to other nearby temples, and ate from a local restaurant that had really good bento.
As for the video itself, the temple was nice because it was small, but had lots of interesting elements that made the film go well. John has a lot of experience with esoteric Buddhism, or mikkyō (密教), which I don’t have, so he was able to fill in details and such that I didn’t have.
The purpose of this film was to help people who visit Japan to see what typical Buddhist temples are like, and how to do basic things like lighting incense, washing hands, and other customs. Hopefully people will find it useful.