Showing posts with label dainichi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dainichi. Show all posts

Friday, April 19, 2024

Shoboji Temple & Seiganji Temple 30 & 31 on Shodoshima pilgrimage


After a couple of small, hermitage-type "temples", number 30, Shoboji, in the small coastal settlement of Yoshino on the Mito peninsula, was quite substantial though there was no-one home.

It is said the temple was founded by Kobo Daishi himself in the early 9th century.

The main hall is said to be about 250-300 years old.

The honzon is a small statue of Dainichi dating back to the Heian period, possibly even the 10th century. It is one of the oldest Dainichi statues in all of Kagawa. Flanking the Dainich is a Tamonten and a Jikokuten from the same period although these two are believed to have been carved locally.

Not far away, around a small headland, and in the next coastal settlement, is Seiganji, temple 31.

This is even more substantial and with a bell tower gate dating back to the Edo period.

The most noticeable thing here though is the massive Sago palm that almost obscures the view of the main building. probably about 1,000 years old, though some claim it to be 1,600 years old, 7.5 meters high, and with a trunk diameter of 8 meters.

It is said the temple was founded by Gyoki in the first half of the 8th century. While sleeping at this spot he is said to have a dream of Myoken, the Buddhist version of the North Star deity and a very, very popular cult in Japan.

Believed to be Taoist in origin and brought to Japan by Korean immigrants, esoteric Buddhism adopted the deity. Right next door is a Myoken Shrine. Thousands of Myoken shrines were renamed and the deity renamed as a Shinto kami in the early Meiji period. One possible site of origin in Japan is the Yatsushiro Shrine in southern Kyushu. That post also links to a favorite Myoken temple of mine, Nose Myokensan near Osaka.

The main hall is on the hillside above the main temple grounds. It was built in 1933 out of Taiwanese Cypress and features many carvings. The honzon is a standing Amida Nyorai. Also in the main hall are a Senju Kannon, a Myoken Bosatsu, and a Fudo Myoo.

Leading up to the main hall is a delightful Edo-period rock garden. In front of the garden is a large flat stone that if you stand on it the North Star is visible directly above the main hall/

The previous post was on temples 28 nd 29.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Ryushoji Temple 64 Kyushu Pilgrimage


Ryushoji, the 64th temple on the 108 temple Shingon Pilgrimage around Kyushu, is  located just off the main road that crosses over the Shimabara Peninsula just south of Unzen Mountain.

The temple is high enough up the lower slopes of the mountain to have great views down and over the Ariake Sea to Kumamoto.

The temple is visible from some distance because of the huge, brightly colored statues of Fudo Myo standing more than 13 meters tall.

At its base are another couple of brightly-painted Fudo statues.

When I first visited in 2014 the newly built main hall was still behind scaffolding and blue tarps, but it opened in 2015. I revisited a few years later while walking the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage.

The temple suffered no damage during the eruptions of the 1990's, though it did receive a lot of ash and the road which heads on up to Unzen Hot Springs was closed for a while.

The honzon is a Dainichi Nyorai, but I can find no other information or dates for the temple.

The previous post in this series chronicling day 62 of my walk along the pilgrimage was on the buried houses of the Unzen disaster.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Sunrise wallk to Dainichi-ji Temple 94 Kyushu Pilgrimage


Sunday January 5th 2014. Day 56 of my walk around  Kyushu on the Kyushu Pilgrimage. This will be the last day where I base myself in Kurume, an interesting town that I had never heard of before coming here but which has been my home away from home as I have explored the region.

As I am walking across the bridge to Nagatoishi on the north side of the river the sun comes up behind me.

 I find the first temple, Dainichi-ji, easily enough and it is yet another structure indistinguishable from a house. The ground floor is two open car parking spaces, the second containing some statues and the entrance to the stairs that I presume lead up to the “main hall”.

It was founded in 1985 and at that time was surrounded by rice paddies, though now it has become a suburb of Kurume. In 2010 it became temple 94 on the pilgrimage.

The honzon is Dainichi Nyorai, and there is also a Dainichi statue outside in the entrance area. Inside is said to be a Yakushi, Kobo Daishi, Fudo, and numerous other statues alongside the Dainichi.

There is no reason why a temple must conform to a pre-determined idea of what a temple should look like, but it is disappointing nonetheless. It is also a little too early in the morning to ring the bell and go in so I pay my respects to the statues at the entrance and head off.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Mudo-ji Temple 6 Kyushu Fudo Myoo Pilgrimage

Mudo-ji Temple

Mudo-ji Temple.

The Fudo Myo statue at Mudoji Temple on the Western slope of the Kunisaki peninsula is calmer and much less fierce than most, and this is said to be indicative of the style of the Heian period when it was carved.

Mudo-ji is temple number 6 on the Kyushu Fudo Myoo pilgrimage but was the first of the pilgrimage temples I visited even though I was well into day 2 of my walk.


In its heyday it was a large and powerful temple of the Rokugo Manzan shugendo system in the Usa-Kunisaki area and had between 50 and 100 monks as well as controlling numerous temples in the vicinity. It is said to have been founded in the early 8th century by Ninmon, the legendary founder of the Rokugo Manzan.

Nowadays the temple is most known for its collection of 16 Heian period statues including the Fudo as well as the largest wooden statue in the area, a Yakushi, pictured above.

There is also a statue of Dainichi Nyorai, the Great Sun Buddha, the central figure is the esoteric sects of Tendai and Shingon. There is also a statue of Maitreya, the Future Buddha who will appear at some point in the far future.

I had arrived at Mudoji after coming down from the ridge that separated this river valley from that of Tennenji and the Fudo cliff carving there.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Butsumokuji Temple 42 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage


Not far from the previous temple, number 41 Ryukoji, Butsumokuji is also not so large.

It has an impressive Niomon and a nice pair of Nio inside. Accoring to legend the temple was founded by Kobo Daishi himself in 807.

According to the story he was offered a ride on the back of a cow by a friendly farmer, and while riding along spotted a jewel in a camphor tree. This turned out to be the same jewel that he had thrown while in China. He carved a statue of Dainichi Nyorai, the hinzon of the temple, and placed thye jewel inbetween its eyes, and then founded the temple.

There is a small structure devoted to animals that was historically used by local farmers to pray for theor livestock but which in modern times has become known for praying for lost pets.

As well as the Nio, there is a largish Kannon statue, a set of 7 Luck Gods statues, and the bell tower is thatched, quite rare in Shikoku.

There was a very small garden which appealed to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

More Kunisaki Cliff Carvings

The Motomiya Magaibutsu are a set of Buddhist cliff carvings in the Kunisaki Peninsula. I had started the day at what are believed to be the biggest cliff carvings in Japan, the Kumano Maigaibutsu, and later in the day after visiting the wonderful statuary on display at Makiodo I carried on walking north .

The figure on the left is a Jizo, next to Jikokuten. In the center of the first photo is a Fudo Myo flanked by his two attendants Setakadoji and Kongaradoji. The figure on the far right is Tamonten. It is believed they were all carved in the late Kamakura Period. Oita, and Kunisaki in particular, has the highest concentration of magaibutsu in Japan.

I was on the first day of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myo Pilgrimage, and as the first few temples were all located in Kunisaki I took the opportunity to take a longer walk roughly following the old Kunisaki/Hachiman pilgrimage. Kunisaki remains my favorite area in japan because of the remoteness and huge diversity of ancient religious sites.

The Motomiya Magaibutsu are now protected by a roof, but 20 minutes earlier I had visited a smaller set of Magaibutsu, the Daimonbo Magaibutsu, at the ruined site of a former temple. These magaibutsu are still exposed to the elements and are somewhat more eroded. Out of the photo on the left is a small standing Fudo Myo. The figure on the right is said to be Dainichi Nyorai, but no-one seems sure who the central figure is.

Just beyond the site of the ruined temple is a small Inari Shrine. The sheer number of shrines and temples and such in the area is quite staggering. It is said that there are more than 32,000 stone statues of various sizes in the area..... one for each kanji of the Lotus Sutra. It is thought that the Lotus Sitra is "mapped" onto the landscape of the Kunisaki Peninsula.

This was my sixth trip to the area and I was hoping to get to some of the many sites I had long been wanting to visit.....

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shikoku Pilgrimage Temple 28 Dainichi-ji

Dainichi-ji is now a Shingon temple. It was founded in the 8th Century by Gyoki who also carved the honzon of Dainichi Nyorai, the Great Sun Buddha.

Kukai visited near here in the early 9th Century and according to the legend he carved a statue of Yakushi Nyorai out of a camphor tree using just his fingernails. It was housed at that spot in the Okunoin, inner sanctuary, of the temple.

Primarily because of this statue the temple is believed to be efficacious for the treatment of illnesses related to the head and upper body. The Okunoin was destroyed in a storm and the Yakushi statue moved to the main temple.

The Yakushi statue is a registered national Treasure. The temple is located in Konan City in Kochi Prefecture.