Showing posts with label shaka nyorai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shaka nyorai. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2024

Saihoji Temple Sasebo


Saihoji Temple is considered to be the oldest and the most important temple in Sasebo.

It was rebuilt after being destroyed at the end of WWII in a bombing raid. The impressive Niomon was not actually completed until 2001.

Inside the Niomon were a pair of statues of Fujin, the Wind God, and Raijin, the Storm God.

Ostensibly Shinto in origin, being created by Izanami while in Yomi, they are usually found, like here, in Buddhist temples.

According to the temple's website, the Nio were each carved in China from a single piece of wood.

It is a Soto Zen temple with a Shaka Nyorai as honzon.

The original temple was Rinzai and founded in the early 13th century. It fell into disrepair but in the mid 15th century it was moved to its current location by the Akasaki Lord and rebuilt as a Soto temple.

The previous post was on nearby Kameyama Hachimangu Shrine.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Inori no Sato Religious Roadside Attraction


Coming down from Unzen Hot Springs towards Obama on the coast of Tachibana Bay, the road is steep and without any settlements until just above the town.

Inori no Sato is sometimes described as a park, sometimes as a roadside rest area, but it looks like some kind of religious roadside attraction with a wide range of statues and altars, and yet is not a temple or shrine.

It is sometimes referred to as Unzen Daibutsu Inori no Sato because of the Buddha statue seen in photo 2, which was made by the same sculptor who created the Ushiku Great Buddha in Ibaraki.

That was a standing figure 120 meters tall, whereas the statue here is a seated figure only 3 meters high including the base.

There are several statues of Kannon, photos 3 & 7, and several Fudo Myo statues, photos 6 & 14.

Under a gazebo in the middle of the park is an impressive statue of a Dragon grasping a golden sphere, photo 5, with a smaller version, photo 8. This is a common symbol across East Asia. The Secven Lucky Gods, shichifukujin, also make an appearance, photo 4.

Various figures from the world of Yokai make an appearance, including a Kappa Pond, photo 9, and a giant red Tengu mask, photo 10.

No overview of Japanese popular religion would be complete without an Inari Shrine, photo 11, a small collection of monkey statues probably related to the Koshin cult, photo 13, and a statue of Shotoku Taishi, photo 12.

There seems to be an emphasis on praying for good luck, success, and other "this worldly benefits", known as genze riyaku in Japanese.

Not shown in these photos is a miniature Shikoku Pilgrimage with 88 small statues, and a pair of "sexual" statues based on Dosojin.

There is no entry fee, though offertory boxes stand in front of all of the statues, and no sect or religion is being pushed. The whole thing was funded by a local businessman, Mr Takujima.

It seems he is the chairman of a successful construction company and Inori no Sato is his attempt to contribute to the well-being and perhaps revitalization of the local area.

The previous post was on the Unzen Hells.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Minenoyama-an & Hondo Temples 22, 23 Shodoshima Pilgrimage


Boxing Day, December 26th, 2015, and I set off on the third day of my walk along the Shodoshima Pilgrimage.

Its another glorious day of blue skies and my plan is to go down and then back up the Mito Peninsula that protrudes from the south of the island.

But first there are the last couple of temples in the old town part of Kusakabe.

The first is Minenoyama-an, on some high ground with great views over the Inland Sea and surrounded by a large cemetery. It is unmanned and the suffix -an tells that it is classed as a "hermitage", though the main building is a bit larger than most hermitages I've come across so far and is more like a large farmouse. The honzon is a Thousand-Armed Kannon.

Nearby, literally on the other side of a small elementary school, is temple 23, curiously named Hondo, which means main hall.

It is said to be the main hall of the pagoda of Seikenji, temple 21 which I visited yesterday and is not too far away. Whether the pagoda stood here or if the hondo was moved to this spot is not clear.

It's quite an elegant building that I would describe as Chinese-style.

The honzon is a Shaka Nyorai said to have been carved by Genshin, a prominent Tendai monk from Enryakuji of the late Heian Period who is known mostly for his writings, but is said to have carved the statue at Yasakaji, temple 24 on Shikoku.

Next I head along the main coast road to the next settlement which has 4 pilgrimage temples to visit. The previous post in this series was on the last 4 temples I visited yesterday, Christmas Day.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Jodoji Temple 49 Ohenro Shikoku Pilgrimage


Jodoji Temple is just a couple of kilometers from temple 48, Sairinji, as the pilgrimage route approaches Matsuyama City centre from the south. It is situated at the base of some hills.

To the right of the main hall is the obligatory Daishi-do, but to the left stand an Amida-do and an Aizen-do.

There is a fine pair of Nio in the gate, though they are missing their eyes, said to have been stolen.

The temple was founded in the early 8th century. There is some confusion as some sources say it was a monk named Emyo who founded it, whereas other sources claim Gyoki. Gyoki is climed to be the carver of the honzon, a Shaka Nyorai.

Kobo Daishi came here in the 9th century and rebuilt the temple and converted it to Shingon.

In the middle of the 10th century a famous, itinerant, philanthropist monk, Kuya Shonin, spent three years here helping the local people. Before he left he carved a statue of himself that is now an Important Cultural Property.

In the late 12th century Yoritomo Minamoto prayed here and funded some reconstruction of the temple. The temple propspered and at one point controlled more than 60 sub-temples.

In the early 15th century much was burned down and was later restored by the local Kono Clan.

The main hall, with Ming features, was built at this time though was dismantled and extensively repaired and renovated in 1965.

A graveyard is set among the trees and bamboo on the hillside behind the temple and a path takes you up to an observation platfrom with some far-reaching views.

The previous temple was number 48 Sairinji.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Raion-ji Hagio Yakushi-do, Temles 49 & 76 Sasaguri Pilgrimage

Raion-ji Hagio Yakushi-do

Raion-ji Hagio Yakushi-do Hagio Amida-do.

After leaving Kannonzaka Kannondo, temple 66 on the Sasaguri pilgrimage, the route heads up the mountain valley for about 3 kilometers before reaching the next temple, actually a cluster of three, in the mountain settlement of Hagio.

Rice paddies.

What is remarkable about that is that the first three kilometers of the pilgrimage, as far as Kanninzaka, included a full 12 temples.


The route sometimes followed the narrow mountain road, and sometimes a trail through the forest including some decent bamboo groves.


Around Hagio, none of the three temples were large. There was temple 49, Raionji, temple 76, Hagio Yakushido, and temple 47, Hagio Amidado.


There were, however, just like the other small temples so far, a lot of statues, especially of Fudo Myo.


Raionji was the largest, and this is the main statue, a Shaka Nyorai, the "historical Buddha".


Raionji also has this nice thousand-armed Kannon,....

Raion-ji Hagio Yakushi-do Hagio Amida-do.

... and several nice Fudo....

Raion-ji Hagio Yakushi-do Hagio Amida-do.

The Yakushi-do obviously enshrines Yakushi Nyorai, the Medicine Buddha...


And the Amida-do's main statue is an Amida....

Raion-ji Hagio Yakushi-do Hagio Amida-do.

The Sasaguri pilgrimage is an excellent opportunity to both get a taster of what walking a pilgrimage is like, and also an excellent series of mountain walks close to the big city of Fukuoka.

Ema Votive Plaques