A trip to an old temple and a memory of the doctor having worked there

I have visited Saimyouji, an old temple, in the town next to ours. It was the place I took Joe AJ2Y visiting here several years ago. It is my habit to visit there once several months by myself or with some visitors. I needed walking a little bit. I also wondered if I could fine anything which showed the arrival of early spring. It was a fine day without any clouds in the sky. Pretty cold but not freezing. It was 3 or 4 PM and sun was ready to sink in an hour or two. It was a plain week day. And there were almost no visitors in the grounds. Among high trees, there were the temple buildings on the top of a hill. Quiet and peaceful as if time has stopped to flow.

The entrance stairs. Going up only dozens of steps made me short breathed even if I might excuse that due to the steep slope. I felt I needed more exercise or walk for training every day.

Here is the history of this old temple.
It says it was founded by a famous
Buddhist Gyoki in the 8th century.

The buildings had been (re)built from
16th through 18th century. The temple
has suffered from fires a few times
and has lost the old buildings. The
lords in this area has given the temple
generous and courteous asylum.

The entrance gate. The strong structure with straw thatched roof.

The three storied pagoda. Each story is constructed in japanese, chinese and mixture style

A storage house with the buddha statues kept in it. The roof is again strawa thatched one. This roof used to be pretty common whe I was born and spent first several years in this area. It should be renewed every several years and has already abandoned everywhere.

The main building, pretty new with metal sheet roof, stood in the most inner part. Again, it is not so old but must be rebuilt after the old style.

The front view of the main building.

The grounds were surrounded with numerous old and high trees. They have been designated as a special naturel treasure by the government. So serene and peaceful. I could understand the ancient people have founded this temple at this place which might look suitable for worshipping.

At a foot of the hill of this temple, along the road of steep slope, there is a clinic named after the temple, Fumonin Clinic.

The son of the former chief priest of this temple has become a medical doctor. He has worked at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo after graduating the med school. He must have served a lot of cancer patients at that time. Years later, his father could not carry on the priest job and, after studying Buddhism at a university, returned and took over the priest job here. At the same time he has started that clinic.

Some twenty or more years ago, my father used to attend to the clinic. Even though I have not heard how my father evaluated him as a doctor, judging from the fact he had attended there spending half an hour for driving there on one way, he must have been happy being taken cared for by the doctor. I remember he told me of the fact such a doctor was working there at that time.

Several years ago, the doctor was diagnosed as the final stage of pancreatic cancer. They say he has told he had been caring for the terminal patients with cancer throughout his life and then was in his turn. Since then, he vigorously started or emphasized his activity to advocate the importance of religious background for the terminal care givers. He has written a few books of that theme and has visited Catholic Conference in Vatican to make an address of the subject for 4 times.

When I was working at own practice of pediatrics, I had a secret dream to be involved in the terminal care at a hospice in the future. I was inclined to visit this doctor and to hear any advice from him. I remember telling this dream to my father who was happy to hear that. But without any personal relationship with him and with my busy daily work burden, sadly, it did not come true. I knew it was not easy for any doctor to start with terminal care from quite different speciality career. I still recall of him with much respect that, despite of his own fatal illness, he has served for the patients in terminal stage cancer for some time in the very end of his life. Very few could do such a thing.

Three years ago, I have read on a news paper that he died. His wife, also a doctor, has taken over the priest job as well as the president of the clinic. Their daughter, another doctor, seems to work with her at the clinic. There were several cars parking at the parking lot. I am sure they are going on good work for the people in this area.

Looking sun sinking on the horizon in the rice paddies, I headed back to home.

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