Friday, June 28, 2024

Aizen-ji Temple 32 Shodoshima pilgrimage


Aizenji is a substantial temple located near to a Michi no Eki where I stopped for a late  lunch on the third day of my walk along the Shodoshima 88 temple pilgrimage route. 

The temple was founded in the early 8th century by Gyoki. Several other temples on Shodoshima make this claim too, as do a large number of the 88 temples on Shikoku.

About a century later Kobo Daishi is said to have stopped here while waiting out a storm on his way to the capital.

In 1384 a monk named Seichi restored the temple and it has stood ever since.

The honzon is an Aizen Myoo, hence the temple name.

Aizen Myoo has some associations with sex, often nowadays meaning matchmaking. Interestingly in historical times he was invoked in several situations by men seeking gay lovers.

The notion of "matchmaking" deities has always existed in Japan, but nowadays seems to be a growing industry.

There were several statues of "cute" Jizo couples which to me look like a development of the "cute" dosojin statues in the Shinto tradition.

There is a nice rock garden on one steep slope and a nice Chinese Juniper tree.

The most curious thing for me was a kind of onigawara tile which looked like a cross between a tengu and a kappa... (last photo)

The previous post in this series on day three of my Shodoshima pilgrimage was on Shoboji and Seiganji temples.


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