Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Aizendo Shomanin Temple

This rather colorful Fudo Myo is at Aizendo Shomanin Temple near Shitennoji in Osaka. I had left Shitennoji, the first temple on the Kinki Fudo Myo Pilgrimage, and was heading to a couple of others nearby. This area has quite a few old temples including Aizendo which dates back to the late 6th Century and is credited to Shotoku Taishi, who is also credited with founding nearby Shitennoji.

Seemingly unknown to tourists, Aizendo is very popular with locals and as well as the Fudo has shrines and statues to several different Kannon, several different Jizo, Inari, the 7 lucky Gods, and several other deities all specializing in genze riyaku, usually translated as "this-worldly benefits", or possibly "divine favors". Such things as wealth, health, success, safe-birth, finding a spouse, etc etc.

The main deity is Aizen Myo, housed in the main hall which dates back to the early 17th Century when it was rebuilt by Hidetada, the second Tokugawa Shogun, after the temple had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga.  Like other Wisdom Kings, Aizen was originally a Hindu deity and he usually appears with a lion in his hair and having multiple arms. Associated with turning lust into enlightenment, he is often seen as a god of love in Japan.

The pagoda is said to be the oldest wooden building in all of Osaka. It was rebuilt by Hideyoshi in 1597. The interior walls of the pagoda have some fine murals. All in all a fascinating temple in a fascinating area for any who want to avoid tourists but get to see some ancient history.


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