Showing posts with label kobo daishi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kobo daishi. Show all posts

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Kurokamizan Saikomitsu Temple 69 Kyushu pilgrimage


Mount Kurokami is a more than 450-meter high mountain between Takeo and Arita in Saga that has been a site of mountain worship since ancient times.

Just below the peak is Saikomitsu Temple, and from it steps lead up to Kurokami Shrine connected to the defeat of a giant serpent.

The temple is very small now and normally unmanned but the day I visited was the day before a ceremony was to be held and so a cleaner was busy preparing.

Before Kobo Daishi left from nearby Hirado on his journey to China he climbed the mountain and prayed for a safe journey. On his return in 806 he came back to the mountain and carved a small Fudo Myo statue and established the temple.

The temple became very important and in its heyday had 80 temples under its control and was a major Shugendo site.

However, in 1878 a major fire burned down almost all the structures and it was decided to move the temple to Sasebo.

The Kobo Daishi Fudo statue, said to be carved using his fingernails, is now the honzon of .Daishi-in Temple in Sasebo. which I had visited a few days earlier.

The honzon of the current Saikomitsu temple is a Yakushi, an Amida, and a Kannon, all hidden.

There are numerous statues around the small building including several Fudo's. They all had plenty of fresh-cut flowers obviously getting ready for the next day.

However, the best was yet to come as a little further down the mountain was another small statue and an enormous Fudo Myo carved into the cliff face......

The previous post in this series on my first Kyushu pilgrimage was a .Brief Guide to Arita.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Hoko-in Temple 70 Kyushu pilgrimage


A statue of Kobo Daishi, the focus of the Kyushu 108 sacred sites pilgrimage, stands outside temple 70, Hoko-in near Arita in Saga.

I reached it on day 70 of my walk along the pilgrimage, a curious coincidence.

A large Bokefuji Kannon statue stands in the grounds. An increasingly popular form of Kannon, prayed to for protection against dementia and senility.

The honzon is a "secret" 11-faced Kannon, and the temple is also part of the Kyushu Kannon pilgrimage.

The temple was founded in the early Edo period when a monk came down from nearby Mount Kurokami.,A shugendo center, and home to temple 69 which I will be visiting tomorrow.

With the ban on Shuigendo in the early Meiji period the temple fell into disuse and disrepair, but was revived in 1968. The Daishi statue in the Daishi Hall was brought from another Shugendo mountain temple, underscoring the historical connection to Yamabushi.

The temple unusually has a Mizuko hall as well as the main hall and Daishi hall.

This was to be the only temple of the day for me as I spent the rest of the day as a tourist exploring Arita.

The previous temple was number 79 Zenpukuji.

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.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Kaigenji Temple 78 Kyushu pilgrimage


Though listed as temple 78 on the Kyushu pilgrimage, Kaigenji is not really a temple at all. It consists of a monument and a roofed area for conducting ceremonies.

It is located next to a small beach on the north coast of Hirado Island and is the site where Kobo Daishi set sail on his journey to Tang China in 804

From the 7th to 9th centuries Japan sent numerous diplomatic missions to China. The one in 804 consisted of 4 ships, only two of which reached China.

A small number of monks were often included in the mission, and in this case not only Kukai, as he was known, but also Saicho were on the trip.

Saicho returned a little sooner than Kukai and he went on to found  Tendai Buddhism. Kukai founded Shingon.

On the hill above the beach is a giant statue of Kukai. The previous post was on Saikyoji Temple, marking the spot Kukai performed a ceremony after returning from China.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Ohashi Kannon Temple 75 Kyushu Pilgrimage


The main building of Ohashi Kannonji is a modern, concrete affair, but because of its proportions it is quite elegant.

The main statue is a Kannon, but to the left is a lovely Fudo, and to the right is an Inari, or maybe a Dakiniten, which unusually has a coiled snake.

According to the temple legend the honzon, an eleven-faced Kannon was carved by Gyoki in the 7th century, so yet another temple in the area that claims a connection to Gyoki.

Nearby is an older hall and the priest's residence.

Among the many statues dotting the grounds is a triad consisting of a central Fudo flanked by a statue of Kannon and a Kobo Daishi.

As well as being on the Kyushu 88/108 pilgrimage, the temple is also on a couple of Kannon pilgrimages.

Ohashi means "Big bridge" and refers to a natural stone bridge in the cliff behind the temple. It deserves its own post which will be next.

The previous post in this series chronicling day 68 of my walk was on the small shrine down below the temple. The previous temple was Saifukuji, a few kilometers upstream and on the opposite side of the valley. It also had a natural bridge.