Showing posts with label magaibutsu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label magaibutsu. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Middle of the River Fudo Myo

Middle of the River Fudo Myo

Kawanaka Fudo is a large relief carving of Fudo Myo flanked by his two attendants. It is carved into a huge boulder in the Nagaiwaya River in the Kunisali peninsula of Oita in north Kyushu.

I arrived here after climbing down from Choanji  Temple on the morning of my second day walking along an old pilgrimage route around the peninsula that I was following as the start of my walk along the Kyushu Fudo Myo pilgrimage.

Yesterday right at the very start of my walk I visited a much larger cliff carving of Fudo at the Kumano Magaibutsu, magaibutsu being the Japanese word for cliff carving.

This one is much  smaller at only 3 meters in height. Above the riverbank is Tennenji Temple and Misosogi Shrine, a syncretic sacred site typical of the form of shugendo that operated here for centuries.

Rokugo Manzan, the name of the system that was a combination of Usa Hachiman Shinto and Tendai Buddhism, was responsible for the many magaibutsu in the area. Oita has more magaibutsu than any other area of Japan, and the Kunisaki area has the most in Oita. Some of the other ones I visited yesterday can be seen here.

In fact, the whole landscape of the Kunisaki peninsula is inscribed as a mandala. This river valley is one of 28 that radiate out from the centre of the peninsula. The Lotus Sutra contains 28 chapters. There are more than 32,000 Chinese characters in the Lotus Sutra, and it is said that the exact same number of stone statues and cliff carvings were made in this area.

here are a couple of other small magaibutsu  in the vicinity. This area is one of my favorite areas in all of Japan, and typing in "Kunisaki" or clicking any of the tags below will bring up dozens and dozens of posts.


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.....

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Demons Stairway

The Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita remains one of my favorite places in Japan. Taizoji Temple is the starting point of the Kunisaki Minemichi Long Trail, a 135 kilometer trail that roughly follows an old shugendo pilgrimage route. The first group of temples of the Kyushu 36 temple Fudo Myo Pilgrimage are located along, or close to, the trail, so when starting my walk I started from Taizoji.

Behind the temple is a stone stairway eading up the mountainside. Many of the rocks used to construct it are large and it's very much a jumble of uneven rocks because it is said a demon built the stairs in just one night. They lead up to the Kumano Magaibutsu.

Magaibutsu are relief carvings in cliffs or large boulders, and Kunisaki is home to many of them. The Kumano Magaibutsu were carved about a thousand years ago. The largest is of Fudo Myo and is more than 8 meters in height.

The second figure is believed to be Dainichi Nyorai and is more than 6 meters in height. From the magaibutsu the stairs carry on up to a shrine higher up.