Showing posts with label futagoji. Show all posts
Showing posts with label futagoji. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nio of Kunisaki part2


Nio, the guardian statues flanking the entrance to many temples are also known as Kongorikishi, though the gates they are often found inside are called Niomon. Most Nio are made of wood, but on the Kunisaki peninsular in north Kyushu they are made of stone. This first one is one of a pair at the start of the steps leading up to Futagoji roughly in the center of the conical peninsular.


Another pair can be found within Futagoji's grounds at the bottom of the steps leading up to inner halls higher up the mountain. One of the pair always has an open mouth, Misshaku Kongo, and Naraen Kongo with his mouth closed.


Originally from India, many historians believe there is a connection between them and Greek statues of  Heracles (Hercules) that may have been transmitted along the Silk Road 2,000 years ago. This Nio is at Fukiji, believed to be the oldest wooden building in Kyushu.


This modern one stands in front of a shrine, not a temple. Kunisaki was home to a unique type of Shugendo that mixed Tendai Buddhism with the "shinto" of nearby Usa Hachiman. Known as Rokugomanzan, stone was  the dominant material for statues and the area is home to the biggest cliff-carvings in Japan.


This final one (for now) is at Sempukuji. Kunisaki is one of my favorite areas. many more posts on the area can be found here. Nio are also a favorite topic of mine, and lots more can be seen here

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some Buddhas of Kunisaki

The Kunisaki Peninsular in northern Kyushu was home to an unusual branch of Shugendo based on a mix of Tendai Buddhism with "shinto" of Usa Hachiman. The whole peninsular was laid out as a pilgrimage route as an expression of the Lotus Sutra. There were 28 main temples, one for each chapter/verse of the sutra, and more than 32,000 stone statues, one for each kanji/character of the sutra.


This is a statue of the Yakushi Buddha at Iwato-ji. It is in the Ko do, a study hall. It was carved out of a single zelkova tree sometime in the 11th Century. Iwato-ji is my favorite of all the temple-shrine sites on Kunisaki.


The Kunisaki Peninsular radiates out from the highest point, Mount Futago, and the temple here , Futago-ji, is a large complex. Im afraid I dont know which buddha this statues is.


Also at Futago-ji is this statue of Amidanyorai. Its made out of cypress and was created at the end of the Kamakura Period. Behind it is a beautiful painting, a copy of one at Enryaku-ji.


Also at Futago-ji is this statue of the 11 headed Kannon. It was made in the latter part of the twentieth century.


At Fuki-ji, the oldest wooden building in Kyushu, is this statue of Amida. Made of Zelkovia wood in the Heian period, it was originally painted or lacquered and traces of red are still on it.


I dont know which buddha this is, or even the name of the temple. It was not a major temple on the tourist maps but we stopped in and were surprised by the modern paintings on the ceiling and we were served tea by the priests wife.


Maki Odo has a fine collection of sculptural treasures including this Amida, carved in the Heian period out of Zelkovia.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kunisaki Fudo Myo o


The Kunisaki Peninsular in Oita Prefecture, northern Kyushu, was a major center of Shugendo, the syncretic mountain religion mixing elements of esoteric Buddhism, Daoism, and other forms of mountain "religions". The version practised in Kunisaki was a variant based on Tendai and Hachiman.

Fudo Myo is strongly associated with Shugendo, so I expected to see a lot of Fudo statuary, but actually there wasn't all that much.

These first three were all at Taizo-ji.


Though details differ, most statues of Fudo Myo have him holding a sword in his right hand, a rope in his left, and flames behind.

The devil-subduing sword represents wisdom cutting through ignorance. The rope is used to catch and tie up demons.


The flames purify the mind by burning away material desires. Fudo Myo's fierce, fanged face is meant to frighten people into accepting the Buddhas way....


Up on the mountainside above Taizo-Ji are the Kumano Magaibutsu, 2 huge carvings hewn directly into the cliff face.


The one of Fudo Myo is eight meters tall and the largest cliff carving in Japan.


I am almost sure that this old wooden statue of Fudo Myo is at Maki Odo, which also has many other wonderful wooden statues.


In the center of the Kunisaki Peninsular is Futago-san, the highest mountain, and on it lies Futago-Ji dedicated to Fudo Myo, so there are many statues of him here. The two figues at his sides are probably Kongara Doji and Seitaka Doji.


Like many of the Buddhist deities, Fudo Myo's origin is in Hinduism.