Apr 30, 2011

Seven Kannon

Samsara is a cycle of rebirth. A man is born in one of six realms. After death, he is reborn in one of six realms according to the action he conducted during the life time. People living the six realms cannot escape suffering. However, Kannon lives in each realm, and relieves the suffering of people.

Such Kannon is called seven Kannon in Japan. Seven Kannon is as follows.

  1. Nyoirin Kannon
  2. Jyuntei Kannon
  3. Fukuukensaku Kannon
  4. Jyuichimen (Eleven faced) Kannon
  5. Bato (Horse headed) Kannon
  6. Senjyu (One thousand armed) Kannon
  7. Sho Kannon

In spite of six realms, why is seven Kannon? Shingon Buddhism section teaches that Jyuntei Kannon lives in Human world. On the other hand, Tendai Buddhism section teaches that Fukuukensaku Kannon lives in Human world. Thus, the number becomes seven.

The following are pictures of seven Kannon.

Nyoirin Kannon

Jyuntei Kannon

Fukuukensaku Kannon

11-faced Kannon

Horse-headed Kannon

1000-armed Kannon

Sho Kannon

Apr 29, 2011

Kannon statue I saw today

In Japan, this year's Golden Week starts from today. Today is a national holiday called Showa Day. This is because the Showa Emperor was born on April 29.

I visited some temples of the Buso Kannon pilgrimage as I did last week. It was fine today, and flowers were beautiful. I love April and May because temperature is mild.

The following pictures are Kannon statue I saw today.

Apr 24, 2011

Buso Kannon Pilgrimage

Kannon is the most well known and popular Buddha in Japan. Therefore, there are many Kannon pilgrimages. The Saikoku Kannon pilgrimage has the longest history, and is the most popular. It consists of 33 temples where the principal Buddha statue is Kannon. All of the 33 temples are located in the Kansai area. This is because the Kansai area was the center of Japan when the Kannon pilgrimage was formed.

It is difficult for people who live outside the Kansai area to take the Saikoku Kannon pilgrimage. Thus, copies of the Saikoku Kannon pilgrimage were made in each area. For example, the Bandou Kannon pilgrimage was made in the Kanto area.

The Buso Kannon pilgrimage is one of the copies. Buso means Musashi and Sagami that are the old name of near Tokyo. Though the statue of Kannon is closed in each temple of the Buso Kannon pilgrimage, it is opened every 12 years. This is the year. That is, the statue of Kannon is opened during this April.

I go to the temples of the Buso Kannon pilgrimage when I have a free time. Today, I visited 11 temples. I felt that a good old tradition is alive. We, Japanese people must keep the tradition.

Apr 17, 2011

Anniversary of Ieyasu Tokugawa's death

April 17th is the anniversary of the death of Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Edo Shogunate.

Today, I visited Zojoji Temple in Tokyo because Zojoji Temple had a close relationship with Tokugawa Shogunate in the Edo period.

Zojoji Temple was more crowded than usual. Of course, one reason is that today is the anniversary of leyasu Tokugawa's death. Other reason is that flea market was held.

You can see Tokyo Tower behind the main hall of Zojoji Temple. Some people say that they do not like the landscape because the tower and the hall are unmatched. However, I love the landscape. It expresses modern Tokyo very well.

I found wooden plaques (ema in Japanese) on which a cure girl is printed. She is Princess Go. NHK period drama this year features Princess Go.

Apr 16, 2011

Cherry blossoms and temples

I visited some temples today. Although the best days of cherry blossoms passed, some cherry blossoms were still beautiful. I can forget everything while I am watching cherry blossoms.

Apr 10, 2011

Repay the 1300 year-old obligation

I read an interesting article about Todaiji temple. Since it is written in Japanese, I try to transfer it to English adding my description.

Repay the 1300 year-old obligation

Todaiji Temple, which is famous for the Great Buddha, announced that it will borrow 100 million yen from a bank, and donate the money to the areas hit by the Tohoku Region Pacific Coast Earthquake through the Nara branch of Japanese Red Cross Society.

When the Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple was built in 8th century, there were not enough gold. However, gold was discovered in Miyagi prefecture, the Tohoku area. The Great Buddha was completed using the gold. This means that Todaiji Temple has a great obligation to the Tohoku area.

Todaiji Temple said that since the Tohoku Region Pacific Coast Earthquake is one of history's worst natural disasters, it makes a donation even if it gets a loan from a bank. Todaiji Temple hopes that the donation will be used to repair cultural properties.

Apr 9, 2011

Buddha in lavatory

Last year, the song "God in lavatory (Toire no Kamisama)" became a big hit in Japan. In the song, It is said that the beautiful goddess lives in every lavatory, if you clean your lavatory every day then you will become as beautiful as the goddess.

When you visit a temple, you can see the statue of Buddha whose name is Ususama-myoo in the lavatory. Ususama-myoo is not female, and his face looks angry. His characteristic is to clean everything. So, the statue of Ususama-myoo is often placed in lavatory.

The following pictures are the statue of Ususama-myoo in Kasuisai temple. It is one of the most famous statues.

Apr 8, 2011

Buddha birthday

Today, April 8th, is Buddha's birthday. Many temples place a statue of baby Buddha that points a finger at sky and ground. People pour sweet tea over the statue in order to celebrate Buddha's birthday.

I visited some temples, and poured sweet tea over a statue of baby Buddha. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and windy today. So, I could not take good pictures.

I introduce some pictures I took two years ago April 8th. The day was fine and cherry blossoms were beautiful.

A statue of baby Buddha.

Buddha statue and cherry blossom.

Women pour sweet teas over a statue of baby Buddha.

Apr 7, 2011

Vegetarian meal in Kasuisai Temple

Buddhist monks in Japan were not generally allowed to eat meats such as beef and pork. So, they ate a vegetarian meal. Today, some Japanese temples offer such a vegetarian meal to guests. One of the temples is Kasuisai Temple.

Kasuisai Temple is in Shizuoka pref. I stayed in the temple, and had vegetarian meal at dinner and breakfast. Since it is healthy, having a vegetarian meal in temples is popular these days.

Room for dinner

Vegetarian meal at dinner

Vegetarian meal at breakfast

Apr 3, 2011

Beautiful garden at Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple is located in Tokyo, and is one of the most popular temples in Japan. I think that visitors to Tokyo always visit Sensoji Temple.

The main hall in Sensoji Temple had been renovated for two years. The renovation was completed last year without troubles. To celebrate it, the garden in Sensoji Temple, which is usually closed, is opened from March 25th to April 28.

I visited the garden on March 27th. The weather was fine. I enjoyed seeing the five story pagoda and Tokyo Sky Tree from the garden. While I was walking at the garden, I had felt as if I had been in Kyoto.