Showing posts with label shichifukujin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shichifukujin. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Monjuin Temple & Emon Saburo


Monjuin is a small temple to the south of Matsuyama City that is the 9th bangai, or bekkaku, temple on the famous Shikoku Pilgrimage known as Ohenro. bangai are the 20 "extra" temples on top of the 88 regular temples of the pilgrimage.

Monjuin is located between temples 47, Yasakiji, and 48, Saitinji, and was built on the site of the former home of a man called Emon Saburo, whose legend is connected with the foundation of the pilgrimage itself and also the practice of osettai, the giving of alms to pilgrims.

According to the story, Emon Saburo was a very wealthy merchant and one day a mendicant monk asked him for alms. He refused and also broke the begging bowl of the monk who was actually Kobo Daishi himself.

After each of his 8 sons fell ill and died, Emon realized it was caused by his actions against Kobo Daishi and so set off around Shikoku to try and catch up with him to ask for forgiveness. A burial mound near temple 46, Joruji, is said to be the grave of his 8 sons.

After completely traveling around Shikoku twenty times and failing to meet up with Kobo Daishi he decided to reverse his direction of travel and go in an anti-clockwise direction.

On the mountainside between temples 11 and 12 in Tokushima, Emon, exhausted and close to death, collapsed. Kobo Daishi appeared and granted him absolution. He asked to be reborn into a wealthy family so that he could restore a neglected temple.

Later a child was born clutching a stone inscribed with the words "Emon Saburo is reborn". Such a stone is on display at temple 51 Ishiteji, in Matsuyama.

The honzon at Monju-in is a "secret" Monju Bosatsu. I was quite impressed with the number of statues and reliefs on display in the grounds of such a small temple.

The previous post in the series was Yasakaji Temple

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Butsumokuji Temple 42 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage


Not far from the previous temple, number 41 Ryukoji, Butsumokuji is also not so large.

It has an impressive Niomon and a nice pair of Nio inside. Accoring to legend the temple was founded by Kobo Daishi himself in 807.

According to the story he was offered a ride on the back of a cow by a friendly farmer, and while riding along spotted a jewel in a camphor tree. This turned out to be the same jewel that he had thrown while in China. He carved a statue of Dainichi Nyorai, the hinzon of the temple, and placed thye jewel inbetween its eyes, and then founded the temple.

There is a small structure devoted to animals that was historically used by local farmers to pray for theor livestock but which in modern times has become known for praying for lost pets.

As well as the Nio, there is a largish Kannon statue, a set of 7 Luck Gods statues, and the bell tower is thatched, quite rare in Shikoku.

There was a very small garden which appealed to me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Ryukoji Temple 41 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage


Ryukoji Temple is one of several temples on the famous Shikoku Pilgrimage that were not established until late in the 19th century.

According to the legend, Kobo Daishi encountered an old man carrying rice near here and took him to be a manifestation of Inari Daimyojin, the rice god, and so established an Inari shrine here. The shrine still exists further up the hillside from Ryukoji.

In 1868 the new Japanese government set about rewriting the religious landscape of Japan and "separated" Buddhism and "shinto" and so Ryukoji was established.

Enshrined here is a "hidden" 11-faced Kannon and the temple just consists of the small main hall and the daishido. There are a few unusual sculptures made from strangely twisted pieces of natural wood, and also statues of the Seven Lucky Gods.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Myotokuji Temple, Toyo Daishi

At the end of my 11th day walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage I had crossed the border from Tokushima into Kochi and was about bto start the long stretch down the coast to the cape. Myotokuji Temple, lo9cally known as Toyo Daishi, is not one of the 88 temples of the pilgrimage, nor is it one of the twenty extra Bangai temples on the route, yet it is well known to walking pilgrims.

Between the temple and a nearby shrine is a small waterfall for practicing purification by cold water. There was evidence of recent use.

The temple had a kind of hand-made feel to it, with not a lot of money spent on it, but lots of effort. It felt more like a "working temple" rather than a tourist attraction. I was particularly taken by a small statue of the 7 Lucky Gods in their treasure boat that had a glass sphere that caught the setting sun.

I spent the night here in my first experience of a tsuyado, a place to stay for pilgrims provided free by a temple. The priest seemed to hesitate before giving me permission, and later asked if I wanted any food.

Before the sun was up loud drumming and chanting came from the small main hall as the priest began the days rituals.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Nobeoka to Hyuga City

Sunday, March 24th, 2018, was the 19th day of my walk around Kyushu on the 108 temple Shingon Pilgrimage. The route from Nobeoka down to Hyuga City included only one temple of the pilgrimage, but lots of small shrines to stop in at and explore.

It was a relatively uneventful day with no major discoveries on my part, though I enjoyed the visits to the shrines as for me there is almost always something to see.

On my way down the coast I crossed many rivers and though it was an overcast day and not great for photography light-wise, it was a still day so the water was mirrorlike.

More palm trees appeared so it certainly felt like I was now in Miyazaki. I stopped early in the day as I had reached the hotel I had a room booked in. The view from my room was not particularly great.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Nanzoin Temple part 3


The final post on some of the multitude of statues at Nanzoin temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka. here is a nice tableau of the shichifukujin, the seven Lucky Gods.


In every nook and cranny there are tiny Jizo statues....


These seem to be a Buddhist Jizo version of the 7 lucky gods.....


yet more Jizo.......


Sakimori were various forms of frontier guardians, and this curious statue is a memorial to police, sdf, coast guard and firefighters....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The 7 Lucky Gods around Shikoku


The Shichifukujin, the 7 lucky gods, are very popular in Japan despite their being mostly "foreign" gods. On my little walk around Shikoku I encountered them at many of the 88 temples, like these small figurines at the mountaintop temple of Tairyuji in Tokushima.


They are often depicted riding a "takarabune", a treasure boat, together like this at Meitokuji in Kochi.


Many temples, especially in Ehime, had fairly new and larger collections of their statues like Ryukoji in Ehime.


The next temple, Butsumokuji, I visited just afew days before New Year and the statues had fresh offerings in front of them in preparation for the large number of visitors expected I would guess.


This small figurine was at Gokurakuji in Tokushima.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shichifukujin The 7 lucky gods

All of these statues of the 7 lucky gods of Japan are at Taizo-Ji, a temple at the southern end of the Kunisaki peninsular. This first one is Daikoku, usually equated with Okuninushi, though originally a Hindu deity, Mahakala, a war god. In japan he is associated with agriculture, rice farming and the kitchen. He is usually depicted carrying a magic mallet, standing on a pair of rice bales and with a sack of treasure over his soldier.
The reason these statues are silver is that they are covered with little silver papers that visitors purchase from the temple and apply to the statues while making their prayers/requests. On the silver paper are bonji, a japanese version of an ancient sanskrit script.
This is Fukurokuju, god of wisdom and longevity and sometimes credited with the power to revive the dead. He is a manifestation of the southern Pole star and is linked to a myth of a Chinese Taoist sage. He is a later addition to the seven, replacing Kichijoten.
Benzaiten, a Hindu deity called saraswati, is usually depicted holding a Biwa, Japanese lute, and is associated with all that flows,... water, words, music etc. Often equated with the shinto kami Ichikishimahime
Ebisu is often considered to be the only Japanese god of the seven. The god of fishermen, workingmen, and good luck. He is immensely popular and is often depicted paired with Daikoku as a manifestation of the father-son pair Okuninushi and Kotoshironushi. He is usually depicted carrying a fish.
Bishamonten is a god of war and warriors, so obviously popular with samurai. Originally Hindu, he is the leader of the Shitenno, the 4 heavenly kings of Buddhism and protector of the north.
Jurojin, another Taoist god of wisdom and longevity, often confused with Fukurokuju and said to inhabit the same body.
Hotei, known as the Laughing Buddha in the West, is probably based on a real Chinese Zen monk. He is the god of happiness and the patron of bartenders!!