Showing posts with label shotoku taishi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shotoku taishi. Show all posts

Friday, January 26, 2024

Taisanji Temple 52 on the Shikoku pilgrimage


The main hall of Taisan-ji Temple, built in 1305, in the mountains to the northwest of Matsuyama City is a National Treasure and is truly one of the most elegant of the buildings on the pilgrimage.

Number 52 on the Shikoku pilgrimage, it claims to be one of the oldest temples on the pilgrimage.

According to the legend, Mano Choja, a wealthy man from Bungo in Kyushu was heading to Osaka on business in 587. Caught in a storm, his ship was in danger of sinking but was saved by a light shining from the spot where the temple now stands.

Guided to land safely, he climbed the mountain and discovered a miniature statue of Kannon.

He came back with a team of craftsmen from Bungo and according to the legend raised the main hall in one night. Later Gyoki visited and carved a Kannon statue and placed the original statue discovered by Choja inside it. In 739 Gyoki built the temple in the form it is now.

It is said that Shotoku Taishi visited here and there is a statue of him in the octagonal Shtokutaishi Hall.

Later, Kobo Daishi visited and converted the temple to Shingon. The Nio gate also dates back to the temple rebuilding of 1305. In the next post, I will show some of the statues and paintings found here.

The previous post in this series on the Shikoku Ohenro was on temple 51, Ishiteji Temple.

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, October 24, 2023

Kozanji Temple Tanabe


Kozanji is a popular temple complex with large cemetery and grounds in Tanabe, Wakayama.

It is said to have been founded by Kobo Daishi, though another source suggests it was founded much earlier during the time of Shotoku Taishi.

The Tahoto, Shingon-style pagoda, has become the symbol of the temple. It was built in 1816 and is dedicated to Prince Shotoku.

Other buildings include 2 Yakushi-do's, a Daishi-do, a Fudo-do, and a Kannon-do.

During the Warring States Period, in the late 17th century the temple was destroyed during Hideyoshi's invasion of the area, but was rebuilt later and in the Edo Period changed its name to Kozanji.

It was pouring with rain when I visited on my way out of Tanabe heading north along the Kumano Kodo towards Osaka on the 5th day of my walk along the Saigoku Pilgrimage.

Many people visit Kozanji to pay respect at the grave of Ueshiba Morihei (1883-1969), a locally-born  man who is known as the founder of the martial art called Aikido.

With millions of practitioners in more than 140 countries world-wide, some make the pilgrimage to his grave here.

Another of Tanabe's famous sons buried here is Munakata Kumagusu, an eccentric scientist who is gaining in notoriety and is sometimes referred to as the first environmentalist in Japan.

As well as being the site of his grave, the grounds of the temple were a place he spent a lot of time collecting specimens, and where it is believed his campaign against the government program of shrine closures took form.

The previous post in this series on the Saigoku Pilgrimage was the former residence of Minakata Kumagusu.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Hokai-in Temple number 5 on the Chugoku Kannon Pilgrimage

On th third day of my walk along the Chugoku Kannon Pilgrimage I headed north from downtown Okayama City andf soon arrived at themple number 5, Hokai-in, sometimes called Henshoji.

The Nio gate was impressive in size and contained a pair of wonderful nio. I could not find dates for the gate or the nio. The main hall of the temple dates to the mid 19th Century.

The temple now belongs to the Shingon sect and was founded in 729. The honzon is a small statue of Kannon supposedly carved by Shotoku Taishi and is registered as an Important Cultural Property.

It is locted an top of a small hill looking over cetral Okayama.