Temple of Total Largeness

Posted By: Kimberly

So earlier I covered the deer stuff, furry lovelies that they are. I did say that they were my inital reason for visiting Nara, but I found myself awed by the Todaiji Temple. It is as huge as huge gets, at least that's how I feel. There are bigger statues around, certainly, but the construction of this place succeeds in being large enough to impress, yet not too large that the brain just loses track of the scale and fails to see the larger whole. Even better, you get to be fairly close up, so you can really see the details on the statue and everything. Sweet!

Well, that is me there, trying to show some appreciation for the scale. Note how the people behind me are rather smaller and smaller and smaller... until they enter the huge doors as gnats.

What they are visiting is the very large Buddha statue pictured below. This picture actually makes it look normal-sized, but in reality, the height of this statue rises up over three tall storeys, just under that roof of the temple up top in the picture above!

Wandering around inside, I found myself just floating along with the steady stream of tourists. Just nice, not too crowded, and not too few people. They have a number of displays along the walls, as well as a station where you can write a dedicated roof tile which they will use when they maintain the temple. Just 2k yen, and you get to wield a calligraphy brush! The Japanese are supposed to just write name and address, but we saw some funky tiles done by French and English tourists...
This is one of the displays. A 30cm tall full-wood replica of the temple, and its interior prize. I was really impressed by the attention to detail, and totally wish that I had the ability to craft something as intricate as that.

Other than being awed and amazed by the scale, we also got the chance to hop in the queue to climb through Buddha's nostril! Well, not literally, of course. The statue is too precious for that, but there is a hole in the base of one of the temple's hugeass pillars that is the size of one of the statue's nostril. It is said that passing through it brings luck for the rest of the year!
So there I am, taking off my jackets in the chill. No zero size female, me. And I was beginning to regret the very good basin of udon I just helped to eat earlier. T.T (more about this tasty tidbit in a later post!)

Down to my Agion! It says "try everything", and it is certainly getting the chance to do something new today!

There I go, squirming through that hole. It was pretty cramped for my tubby self, and I was just a little too short to just push myself through easily.

And there I am, just getting out after getting a proper hold ;) Shirt is still whitey and smelling a-ok!
It was loads of fun doing it, I certainly wouldn't mind doing it again! But it was fun also to watch others doing their thing... high heeled ladies, uncly types, a more portly chap who turned back at the last moment with a resigned exclamation of "Muri, muri...". Entire families passed through that hole, 3 generations even. The wood of the hole has been polished to a shine by all the bodies getting through.

So afterwards, we went to view the somewhat lesser but still impressive statues around the temple.

This one sits to the right of the temple entryway. Despite his appearance, he is reputed to heal the ills of anyone who rubs any of his bodyparts and then rubs their own corresponding ailing bodypart. I tried it out f0r my knee, hasn't been aching! But I forgot to do my back, neck, arms, head... ah well, old age.

And yes, we were very lucky to be visiting at a time when the sakura trees on the temple grounds were exploding with soft pink blossoms. I feel blessed much!

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