Thursday, April 14, 2022

Daihoji Temple 44 on the Shikoku Ohenro Pilgrimage

Daihoji Temple 44

Daihoji Temple 44.
Daihoji Temple 44

I reached Daihoji early in the morning on January 4th, 2012, after a a snow during the night. Being temle 44 of an 88 temle pilgrimage it was in a sense a halfway point, though it was my 32nd day and I guessed about two thirds of the way in actual distance covered.

At 579 meters above sea level it is considered a mountain temple, but doesn't feel such because it is located just on the edge of a town, Kuma Kogen. However, it had been a lot of uphill walking f0r two days since the last temple, the bangai temple, Toyogahashi.

The path through giant trees up to the temple showed footprints of two people who had preceded me that morning. There are very few walking pilgrims in the winter months, for obvious reasons, but walking the pilgrimage in that season has its own rewards.

The Niomon gate was impressive, but the Nio were behind some thick, chicken-wire screening and so I found iit best to shoot out of focus.

According to the founding legend, a monk from Paekche left a statue of Kannon on the mountain in the 7th Century. It is not clear if it was a Korean monk or a Japanese monk who had returned from studying in Paekche. I suspect the former.

In 701 the statue was discovered by a hunter who placed it in a small hut to worship it. When Emperor Minmu heard about it he ordered that a temple be established. Kobo Daishi is said to have visited in 822.

Like most temples, Diahoji burnt down, but in 1156 it was restored as a large monastic complex by Emperor Go-Shirakawa who attributed prayers at the temple to his successful recovery from an illness. It was later burned down by Chosokabe, who destroyed so many Shikoku temples. The last reconstruction from fire was in the late 19th Century.

In 1934 a small statues of Kannon was excavated from under a 1,000 year old tree along with more tan 100 stones inscibed with the Lotus Sutra. Sutra burials such as this were common in the late Heian and earky kakakura periods. This statues is now enshrined in the temple.

Visiting this deserted and snowy temple in the golden light of early morning was a wonderful experience.

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  1. Beautiful photos but it looks cold!

  2. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»For this beautiful blog, I always read it with great interest.

  3. thanks for visiting, wonderful atmosphere !