Troubled persons, prayers―――
You are all equally welcomed to us, Fumon.
Saimyoji, also known as Tokko-san Fumon-in, is a temple of the Buzan Shingon school of Buddha-dharma. Its main revered figure is the Eleven-faced Kannon Bosatsu who achived perfect freedom from egoism to arouse great compassion.
It was built in 737 by Arimaro Ki ( Ki is the old surname of the Mashiko family ). At its height of influence in 782, it had twelve residence for monks.
In 1127, all buildings were destroyed by fire, rebuilt in 1178, and destroyed again in 1351. The Main Hall was rebuilt in 1394. Then Tower Gate was built in 1492, Three-storied Pagoda in 1538, the Hall which houses the "Laughing Emma" in 1714, and Bell Tower in 1722 respectively, and Saimyoji looked much as it looks today.
Saimyoji is the 20th temple of Bandou 33 Kannon pilgrimage.
MD, Chief Priest at Buddhist temple Saimyoji, Physician at Medical Clinic Fumon-in
"Saimyouji", a Buddhist temple, is located just north of Tokyo in Japan. The temple was first built in 737 A.D. and is associated with one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage routes in Japan.
Having been born at the temple as the son of the chief priest, I grew up thinking that I would become the chief priest of Saimyouji temple in the future. However, since I was a child, I was also interested in science. One day I asked my father, who was Saimyoji's chief priest, what I should study to become the chief priest at Saimyouji Temple. His answer was, "Learn anything special other than Buddhism first, and then study Buddhism after that." Hearing that, I thought that I should become a scholar of science first.
Just before the deadline for university applications, my father brought me an application form for Jikei University and asked me to enter the medical school there. I had no idea why my father wanted me to become physician. Despite the fact that I was not interested in becoming physician, I entered, and graduated from, medical school. I obtained a physician's license. Still, I couldn't work up any enthusiasm for clinical practice. So, I thought that I should do medical research. Since early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis was popular among intern doctors at that time, I became an intern doctor at the National Cancer Center in order to learn about the techniques of endoscopy. The National Cancer Center had a hospital and a research institute. After a few years, I became both a government employee as a researcher in the research institute and also a physician at the hospital at the same time.
I treated inpatients and outpatients as a physician of the National Cancer Center. Most of the patients that I saw were patients with advanced cancer. Curable patients were usually treated by surgeons, so most of the patients that I saw as a physician of internal medicine were incurable. Usually, patients with advanced cancer never make a complete recovery. Patients could become better temporarily, but in the end almost all of the patients passed away.
Modern medicine is a science, and science is limited to matters that are refutable by experiments or observations, and all that a doctor can do is prolong a patient's life. How to live and how to die is not a matter of science.
The pain related to the loss of existence, to the loss of oneself, to death, is a spiritual pain. This pain is unique to human beings. No animals, other than humans, complain of spiritual pain. Neither medical drugs, nor treatments, are effective in relieving the pain of a patient who says, "I dread dying." Buddhism, however, has been dealing with spiritual pain since its inception. Seeing old age, sickness and death, Buddha started exploring the mystery of salvation. However, these days, the pain of aging, disease and death, are isolated to medical facilities. And, Buddhist priests in Japan shut themselves away in temples and are not beside the patients who are suffering from spiritual pain in hospitals.
Knowing what I know now, I feel that I have realized what my father meant when he said, "Enter medical school first," to me all those years ago. By chance, I've had the career that my father intended for me."
After I'd practiced medicine for 12 years at National Cancer Center, my father had a heart attack and passed away suddenly at his age of 60. The next year, I resigned from the National Cancer Center and entered Taisho University to study Buddhism in order to become the chief priest of Saimyouji temple. I graduated after two years and spent another 5 years studying Buddhism as a post graduate. Then, I and my wife, who is also a doctor, established a hospital at Saimyouji temple. Now we have several institutions for health care, including a nursing home for the aged, two group homes for the aged with dementia, a clinic with facilities for rehabilitation, as well as facilities for inpatients and outpatients in need of a general physician."
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