Thursday, July 28, 2022

Nanrinji Temple #6 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage

Nanrinji Temple

I reached Nanrinji, temple number 6 on the 108 temple Shingon pilgrimage around Kyushu, in the afternoon of my 54th day walking.

Walking along the rural road a few kilometers from the temple a car stopped and it was the priest of the temple and his wife. They asked if I needed a stamp for my nokyo. I said no. temple stamps usually cost 300 yen a pop, and if you multiply that by 108 then the money spent on stamps is equivalent to a week's worth of cheap lodgings, a more sensible use of my very limited budget.

So when I got to the temple it was all locked up, but because I knew no-one was home I sneaked a peek at the garden behind.

As well as the Shingon pilgrimage focused on Kobo Daishi, Nanrinji is also on the Kyushu Yakushi pilgrimage. The honzon of the temple is a Yakushi Nyorai statue supposedly carved by Kobo Daishi himself in 809.

According to the story, while Kobo daishi was on his way to China he encountered a storm and vowed that if he was spared he would then carve 7 Yakushi statues on his return to Japan , this being one of them.

The statue was in a temple much closer to the Chikugo River and was in constant danger of being flooded  so was moved a few kilometers to the current location, not far from where Empress Saimei died in 661.

This temple burned down several times and there seems to have been some sort of a scheme to spread water around the forested slopes around the temple. The year after I visited their was major storms and landslides here and the temple was closed for a while but seems to be open again now, though with concreted slopes all around.



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