Thursday, August 11, 2022

Middle of the River Fudo Myo

 


Kawanaka Fudo is a large relief carving of Fudo Myo flanked by his two attendants. It is carved into a huge boulder in the Nagaiwaya River in the Kunisali peninsula of Oita in north Kyushu.


I arrived here after climbing down from Choanji  Temple on the morning of my second day walking along an old pilgrimage route around the peninsula that I was following as the start of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myo pilgrimage.


Yesterday right at the very start of my walk I visited a much larger cliff carving of Fudo at the Kumano Magaibutsu, magaibutsu being the Japanese word for cliff carving.


This one is much  smaller at only 3 meters in height. Above the riverbank is Tennenji Temple and Misosogi Shrine, a syncretic sacred site typical of the form of shugendo that operated here for centuries.


Rokugo Manzan, the name of the system that was a combination of Usa Hachiman Shinto and Tendai Buddhism, was responsible for the many magaibutsu in the area. Oita has more magaibutsu than any other area of Japan, and the Kunisaki area has the most in Oita. Some of the other ones I visited yesterday can be seen here.


In fact, the whole landscape of the Kunisaki peninsula is inscribed as a mandala. This river valley is one of 28 that radiate out from the centre of the peninsula. The Lotus Sutra contains 28 chapters. There are more than 32,000 Chinese characters in the Lotus Sutra, and it is said that the exact same number of stone statues and cliff carvings were made in this area.


here are a couple of other small magaibutsu  in the vicinity. This area is one of my favorite areas in all of Japan, and typing in "Kunisaki" or clicking any of the tags below will bring up dozens and dozens of posts.


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