Showing posts with label kokuzo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kokuzo. Show all posts

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Saikyoji Temple 77 Kyushu pilgrimage


Saikyoji Temple is located on a hillside overlooking the harbour of the main settlement on Hirado Island.

It is built on the site of where Kobo Daishi performed his first Goma ceremony after returning from China in 806.

It is a Shingon temple and because of its size is sometimes referred to as the Koyasan of the West, although it must be said I have come across numerous other temples with the same nickname.

It was established in 1607 by the local daimyo Shigenobu Matsuura, who was a fervent believer in Shingon. However, at that time a zen temple existed on the property.

The zen priest refused to leave and so Matsuura burned down the temple with the priest inside. For years Matsuura was haunted by ghosts of the murdered riests until one day they were scared away by the sound of a baby crying. This is said to be the origin of the "Crying Baby Sumo" event held every February at Setsubun. Most Naki Sumo events are held in shrines in May.

The honzon is a statue of Kokuzo Bodhisattva, not one of the more famous bodhisattvas, but important to Kobo Daishi. Kokuzo was the focus of the ascetic practices that Kobo Daishi undertook as a youth.

Within the grounds are an Ebisu Shrine and an Inari Shrine.

Between the main temple and the Okunoin, the path is lined with 88 statues representing the Shikoku pilgrimage.

The temple was well supported by the Matsuura clan and the temples Treasure House museum has many delightful paintings and statues, unfortunately some of which were looted from Korea during Hideyoshis invasions.

The temple is number 77 on the Kyushu pilgrimage and also on the Kyushu Kannon pilgrimage.

Number 78 on the Kyushu pilgrimage is a few kilometers away and is the site where Kobo Daishi set sail on his journey to China. It is an unmanned site so pilgrimage stamps need to be gotten here.

Hirado is an interesting place with a lot of historical connections. William Adams, the English sailor immortalized in the novel Shogun, is currently attracting a lot of interest because of the new remake of the TV drama.

He lived and died in Hirado.

The previous post was on the pagoda at the okunoin of the temple.

Hirado is well worth a visit if you are in the area, and Saikyoji is well worth a visit if you are in Hirado.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Takada Kokuzo-do

The Sasaguri Pilgrimage, like the Kyushu Pilgrimage, does not have a lot of big, grand temples. It does have a lot of interesting and surprising one though. Most of the "temples" are too small to have a resident priest, and are more what could be described as "chapels. One thing they do all have though is statuary, especially Fudo Myo.

Temple 21, but the second to visit if you start at Sasaguri Sation, is just such a temple. With 88 temples within only 50k of walking, the distance between temples is often measured in meters rather than kilometers. Takada Kokuzo-do was onky 5 minutes from the previous temple and less than a minute to the next.

There was a Jizo in a little hut, and a couple of Fudo Myo's in the grounds. The Honzon is Kokuzo Bosatsu, not one of the more well-known Bodhisattvas.

It is however the deity that Kobo Daishi prayed to while training as a young man at Mount Tairyuji and Cape Muroto. In the small temple a statue of Kobo Daishi flanks the honzon

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Shikoku88 Temple 12 Shosanji


The twelfth temple, Shosanji, is the first mountain temple of the pilgrimage and the first classified as difficult to reach. It is at almost 800 meters in a wonderful setting of giant cedars that on the day I was there were poking into the clouds.


Shosanji means "buirning mountain temple" and refers to the founding legend which has the famed ascetic En no Gyoja, credited with being the founder of Shugendo, subduing a fiery dragon on the mountain and then founding the temple in the late 7th Century. A hundred years later Kukai came to the mountain and did the same thing. The Kukai legend, not surprisingly, is more common nowadays.


The temple now belongs to the Shingon sect and the main deity is Kokuzo Bosatsu.


Kokuzo Bosatsu is a "wish granting" buddha and was very important to Kukai in the early stages of his path to enlightenment when he was chanting the morning star mantra. Kokuzo is associated with venus, the morning star, and dawn.


Shosanji is the second highest of the 88 temples, and for me at least the temple itself was overshadowed by the forest around it.....