• Acorns from Suma Temple

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    These acorns are made by a fabric craft artist Kumiko Kitae of Miki, Japan, using kimono fabric and natural acorn caps.

    kimono fabric acorn buttons with natural acorn caps

    kimono fabric acorn buttons with natural acorn caps

    Suma(-dera) Temple hosts a gathering on the 20th and the 21st of every month in remembrance of Kūkai, a Japanese Buddhist monk, calligrapher, and poet who founded the Japanese branch of Vajrayana Buddhism in the 9th Century.

    buttons made by Kumiko Kitae

    The Suma Temple open-air market happens during the monthly celebration since long before my childhood.  On this day in April 2022, vendor stalls were sparse under a grey sky with a threat of rain.

    During our stroll in the market, my elderly mother and I met a Buddhist nun who gave a Shingon blessing to my mother in exchange for our modest street offerings. Her chanting voice reminded my mother of the days during the WWII civilian evacuation. She and her siblings and cousins were sent away, out of Kobe and Osaka, to stay with her relatives in the safety of the rural farming community in Shikoku until the war ended. A childhood sensation of hearing the Buddhist chanting of devout neighbors came back to her. The neighbors were a childless couple, who extended special attention to the 11-year-old girl from the city. The Shingon nun then shared with us that during her chanting, her late mother visited her. Her mother was a Christian, and so is my mother. We had pleasant chitchat to find that both mothers were born in the same year of rooster (year 8 of the Showa emperor, or 1933).

    – Mika

    Shingon Buddhist Nuns (photo: www.koyasan-u.ac.jp)

    Shingon Buddhist Nuns (photo: www.koyasan-u.ac.jp)

     

     

     

     

     

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