Showing posts with label sainokami. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sainokami. Show all posts

Friday, December 18, 2015

Nanzoin Temple part 2


There is a lot to see at Nanzoin Temple. A friend once described it, critically, as like a Buddhist "theme park", but I think back in the Edo period pilgrimage temples were a lot like that with many "attractions" to draw pilgrims. In the grounds  stands a massive, ancient tree that had been hit by lightning, though still living. Carved into it is a relief of Raijin, the God of Thunder and Lightning.


Nanzoin is a pilgrimage temple, being the first of the Sasaguri Pilgrimage. There is also a complete set of the 500 Rakan, or Arhats, the disciples of the Buddha, each with a different face and pose.


Not sure who this is. Obviously dressed as a monk, it might very well be Kobo Daishi. the founder of Shingon, the sect to which Nanzoin belongs.


This modern carving of a married couple is a Sainokami, also known as Dosojin. In earlier times they were often a single phallic stone, or a a pair of stones and were placed at village boundaries and crossroads for protection.


Probably a Jizo as he often is holding a staff and with children around him, but he seems to have a medicine jar in his left hand which is what Yakushi Nyorai, the Healing Buddha, would be holding

Monday, June 20, 2011

Izumoji Sainokami Shrine


The shrine is tucked away a little to the west of Shimogamo Shrine, though it was originally located on the bank of the Kamo River nearby.


The name refers to the old "road" to Izumo, and sainokami is a later name of dosojin, the phallic stones at roadsides and crossroads that were the site of spirit-pacification rites. Plagues travelled along the roads and were experienced as demons, so these sites were to protect from such demons.


The dosojin became associated with Sarutahiko, and he is the main kami enshrined here. Also enshrined is Uzume, his wife, Ninigi, who Sarutahiko guided down to earth, Okuninushi and Kotoshironushi, the Izumo kami, and several others.


Sarutahiko took on the visage of a monkey, hence the image on the numerous ema.

It is said that in olden days women who wanted a divorce would come here to pray.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The phallic stones of Asuka Nimasu Shrine


There is a collection of phallic stones at the Asuka Nimasu Shrine that I would guess have been collected from the surrounding area.

A few of them are paired with a "female" stone.


I think there is a good chance that these, or some of them at least, are Dosojin.

Dosojin, sometimes called Sainokami, were phallic stones placed at the roadside at community borders.

Often referred to as protective deities of travellers, their original use seems to be protecting the village from evil/pollution rather than protecting travellers.


Later the dosojin became rocks carved with a male-female couple, and later still Jizo statues took over some of their functions.


In some places Sarutahiko is associated with Dosojin.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shimenawa & Rock


Rock and stone plays a major part in ancient Japanese mythology, so it's not surprising to find them marked as sacred with a shimenawa.


Iwakura, "stone seat" are rock outcroppings found often on mountaintops and are places where the kami descend to earth. They will often be fenced off behind shimenawa rather than having the shimenawa on them.


As with most other places in the world, rocks with unusual shapes and such will often have stories and legends associated with them. The one above is at a female fertility shrine on Mount Daisen, and its easy to see what it reopresents.


This rock has Sainokami carved in it. sainokami are male/female kami found in pairs at village boundaries, crossroads, etc. originally represented by a male and female rock, later they began to be carved as figures.

An evening on Tsunoshima 664

And, of course, there are lots of memorial stones that will have shimenawa on them.

I'm looking forward to reading a book I just got on the new discipline of Geomythology, the study of the geological foundation to human myths.