Our group started the tour with Shirley's sweeping boy story. A statue of apprentice priest is a symbol of Mt. Takao's important rule, "No littering".
The highlights of our tour was the procession of priests. We were blessed to have an opportunity to observe the recession of priests from the main hall after the Goma rituals of 11:00 AM. It is a solemn procession with the sounds of a trumpet shells played by priests. At the end of procession, one of our guests asked priests to take a picture with him. Priests willingly complied with his request and surprisingly they even offered him to hold the trumpet shell.
The trumpet shell is the one of 12 important tools for Shugendo that is widely practiced by Japanese priests and people including priests of Yakuoin Temple at Mt. Takao. The sounds of the trumpet shell is often called as "獅子吼"(Shishiku) which means a lion's roar. As a lion is the king of all beasts and its roar has a control over other livings, it is often compared to Buddha's preaching. Many people know that priests and people practice Shugendo use a trumpet shell to communicate with others during their disciplining at the mountain as you can hear its sounds from distance. In addition, to play a trumpet shell means a prayer as it is believed to have a power to call gods and protect from the evils.
The priest gave us a blessing by playing a trumpet shell. Our guests and TENGU's members enjoyed its sounds very much. It was a heartwarming moment for all of us. We really appreciate priests at Yakuoin Temple for their kind hospitality and taking their time.
Thank you for our leader Sumo san for scheduling that allowed us to observe the procession.
Goma rituals at Yakuoin Temple is performed 5 times a day, 9:30, 11:00, 12:30, 2:00 and 3:30.