We had the pleasure of bumping into a monk on our way to Fushimi Inari- Taisha our second day in Kyoto. It was rather serendipitous as most of my days are. He happened to work at the same place we were going to and wanted to guide us (and our guide/friend, Alan). Before we entered the grounds he showed us the proper way to cleanse our hands and mouth. This represented cleaning the internal and the external. There were cords to pull on that had bells in a separate area and you could offer a coin if you wanted.
Once we got to the main gate we had to part ways because he had to start his shift. There were miles and miles of orange gates built into the forrest and we explored about half of the grounds. If we had more time and energy we would have climbed to the top of the massive hill (in my eyes it was a mountain) where it was possible to over look all of Kyoto. But, at that point our group was hungry and tired so we walked back to the city.
Whenever we travel to religious grounds we always try to be respectful. It’s fascinating for us because we are both so close to God. There was a time in the past where I wouldn’t have participated in the cleansing with the monk. But God has really shown me the importance of listening to Him in each and every moment. I had His peace that day and as a result I learned new things from a deeply spiritual man.