Showing posts with label aizen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aizen. Show all posts

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.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Jimyoin Betsuin Temple


The Sasaguri Pilgrimage is a miniature version of the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage known as Ohenro. All the temples on the Sasaguri Pilgrimage are within the limits of Sasaguri, a town in the mountains east of Hakata, Fukuoka, and the whole route covers about 50 kilometers, yet the walking pilgrim passes by numerous other temples that are not part of the pilgrimage.

Jimyoin Betsuin Temple is one such temple, located along a mountain road to the north of Narufuchi Dam. We visited on our way down the mountain late in the afternoon of the 1st day walking the pilgrimage after having already visited more than twenty temples.

A Betsuin is a direct branch temple, and this one seems to be a branch of a Jimyoin Temple near Nanzoin further east. It is unstaffed and there was little information though it does appear to be relatively new.

What is known is that the temple belongs to the Shingon sect and has a Daishi-do, Yakushi-do, and across the road a Kannon-do.

The main hall enshrines the honzon, a Fudo Myo, and I will cover it and the many other Fudo statues in the grounds in the next post.

Photo 3 shows, I believe, an Aizen Myo, and the statues in photo 4 very much look in what seems to be Korean-style.

Photo 5 is probably Bishamonten, one of the Four Heavenly Kings, and the one most likely found alone without the other three. I'm not sure of the dragon in photo 6, but it looks a lot like Kurikara, the dragon representing the sword of Fudo Myo, except it is usually shown wrapped around a sword.

Photo 7 is the Shichifukujin, the Seven Lucky Gods. Have no idea what photo 8 is although its meaning seems somewhat obvious. Photo 9 is the Nio guardians from the rear looking across the road to the Yakushi-do.

The previous post in this series on the Sasaguri Pilgrimage was on the small  Hagio Amida-do we visited a little higher up the mountain road.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Around Gokurakuojoin at Nomiyama Kannonji

Nomiyama Kannonji

Nomiyama Kannonji is a large complex of temples and shrines high in the mountains above Sasaguri, Fukuoka, that is very popular in its own right but is also on the Sasaguri Pilgrimage. Down below the main site of Kannonji are several large car parks and numerous cafes and restaurants, a clear indication of how popular this remote location is. Across from the car parks are two more areas of sub-temples and shrines, Tennoin, which I will cover later, and Gokurakuojoin the subject of todays post. One structure is the Aizen-do which enshrines Aizen Myo, in the photo above.

Six Jizo Pond actual has 7 statues in it.

Behind the pond, Three Thousand Jizos. One source says these are Mizuko Jizo. Nearby is a whole temple devoted to Mizuko Jizo, Mizuko Temple Monjuin.

The main deity enshrined in Gokurakuojoin is Enma. so-called "King of Hell".

Also pictured here, a small Fudo Myo and a small Thousand-Armed Kannon, also in Gokurakuojoin.

We explored Gokurakuojoin in the afternoon of our first day on the Sasaguri Pilgrimage, and this was the highest point of the walk. From here the route descends down a different road. The previous post in the series was of the Fudo Myo statues at the main area of Kannonji.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Yet More Deities at Myo-on-ji Temple


This is the 4th and final post on Myo-on-ji temple. It is not a famous temple, nor particularly ancient or large. However, it does have a large number of statues in numerous small shrines, due to the fact that it is a pilgrimage temple on the Sasaguri 88 temple pilgrimage in Fukuoka.

Myo-on-ji was the 11th temple we had visited since starting to walk the pilgrimage. It had raken just under 2 hours since starting at Sasaguri Station, and by now I had come to realize that there were going to be a lot of very diverse statuary tp be seen over the next 4 days.

I started out by posting some photos of Fudo Myo, one of my favorite deities, and a figure that is very common on this pilgrimage. So much so that my second post was a much larger selection of Fudo statues at Myo-on-ji, with one of my wordiest posts where I try to explain the complexity and diversity of Japanese deity identities. The third post was on a variety of statues of Kannon, another very popular deity, technically a bodhisattva.

This time I show another group of statues, mostly multi-armed, multi-headed, fierce deities that originated in India. The top photo is Aizen Myo, among other things associated with sex and love. The next three might be various Myo..... or not..... If I was to dig into it I might be able to say with some certainty the names and classifications of these deities, but I don't have the time. Probably some readers would know.

Statues of snakes, often with offerings of coins, are commonly associated with Benzaiten, the complex Buddhist-Shinto deity that among other things is often associated with water and many times is conflated with Suijin, the water god. I have also seen these snake statues at altars to Kojin the land god in Izumo.

Thgis final photo is another deity I cannot immediately identify. though for some reason I seem to think it might actually be a Bato kannon......

From Myo-on-ji the pilgrimage route heads up into the mountains and the temples ar further apart, but some are much bigger than any yet visited...

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.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Shikoku 88 Temple 7 Jurakuji


Only one kilometer from temple 6, Jurakuji is the eighth temple on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. The name means "temple of ten Joys" and refers to the 10 joys awaiting believers after death.


There were many Mizuko Jizo in the grounds, the small Jizo statues erected for the souls of aborted children.


This wonderful statue is of Aizen Myo-o, one of the wrathful, fierce-looking deities originally Hindu but now seen as emanations of the 5 Wisdom Kings. Aizen, known as the King of Sexual Passion,  converts lust into spiritual awakening and saves people from the sufferings associated with love.


Jurakuji was, according to legend, founded by Kukai who also carved the statue of the main deity Amida Nyorai.


The temple complex used to be much larger but was burned down in the late 17th Century and rebuilt later, though the current main hall only dates from the Meiji era.