Showing posts with label benten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label benten. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Joruriji Temple 46 Shikoku pilgrimage


Joruriji is located on the southern edge of Matsuyama City, and is the first of 8 temples around Matsuyama that are on the Shikoku pilgrimage.

The previous two temples, Iwayaji, and Daihoji, are both high in the mountains so it is quite a contrast to drop down into flatter terrain. Matsuyama is also the largest city along the route since Kochi.

According to the legend the temple was founded by the famous monk Gyoki which would make it the early 8th century. I believe a total of 37 of the 88 temples claim Gyoki as their founder.

As with the others, it is said Kukai came to the site about a century later and rebuilt or re-established the temple.

There are several smaller shrines, including this one to Benten.

I visited in the first week of January so the new year offerings were still on the altars.

The grounds are wooded and gardened, with a trio of thousand-year-old Juniper trees being noteworthy.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sacred Islands


There are thousands of small uninhabited islands and islets  in Japan, many of them sacred and with small shrines on them. One hears often of sacred mountains, the places where the gods descend to, but sacred islands get mentioned much less.


There are many myths and stories of the gods coming from under the sea and from across the sea, the Japanese themselves arrived here by water, so its perhaps not surprising. The most famous sacred island is probably Miyajima, home to the Itsukushima Shrine, and it was for a long time kept uninhabited as an abode of the gods.


On my recent walk along the Japan Sea coast of Yamaguchi I encountered some of these sacred islands. Nowadays many of them are said to enshrine Benten, or Benzaiten, a syncretic deity associated with the sea. Small islands in lakes will often enshrine her. She was also conflated with the Itsukushima goddess.


The first photo is the tiny Megashima, which means Doe island. You can make out the torii on the right under the biggest tree. The next two photos are the larger Ogashima, 200 meters away, which means Stag island. Being a male/female pair they are considered Meoto (married) islands. As you can see in the third photo the shrine has buildings. No-one I asked could tell me which kami were enshrined there or if there was a story....


Further along the coast, the fourth photo is Noshima. You can just make out the torii on the beach to the left and a small honden behind it. Again no-one could tell me which kami is enshrined there. Further along in Susa Bay is Nakashima. A gentleman walking his dog told me Benten is enshrined there. As you can see it has buildings.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bentenjima Shrine


The small shrine on Bentenjima (Benten Island) enshrines the female kami/goddess Benten, sometimes known as Benzaiten. Associated with water, and sometimes equated with Ichikishimahime, Benzaiten is the only female among the seven lucky gods of Japan.


Originally the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, introduced into Japan through Buddhist sutras, so one can find both shinto shrines and buddhist temples dedicated to her.


Benten Island itself is actually just a big rock on Inasa beach, and in the Kuniyuzuri myth the rock was thrown here by Takemikazuchi while engaged in a competition of strength with one of Okuninushi's sons.