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Chinatown I

Saturday Speraphim, Frank Purcell, Timothy Denton and I did our best to ignore the wind-driven rain as we explored Manhattan’s Chinatown. We went to one shop after another, in Seraphim’s search of a model of a ship bearing the seven dieties of good luck. He had seen such a model while he lived in Japan, but he hoped he’d find something similar in Chinese tradition.

The Japanese dieties were artificially created in the 17th century by the monk Tenkai, who died in 1643 and was posthumously named Jigen Daishi. He wanted to symbolize the essential virtues of the man of his time for the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu (1623-1650 AD). The seven virtues are:

Candour (Ebisu)
Fortune (Daikokuten)
Amiability (Benzaiten)
Magnanimity (Hotei)
Popularity (Fukurokuju)
Longevity (Juroujin)
Dignity (Bishamonten)

Like Peter Matthiessen’s search for the Snow Leopard in the Himalayas, we trekked in that chilly wet weather for what seemed like days, but came up with no mystical ship. Finally Seraphim settled for a small smiling Buddha. Then it was time for lunch.

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wonderful John!
actually many years ago I had such
a small plastic bright colored ship
which I had bought in chinatown.

Seraphim, seems to me that despite our not finding another shipload of lucky dieties we came away with much more than we had when we arrived.

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