Monday, January 17, 2011

Kunisaki Fudo Myo o

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The Kunisaki Peninsular in Oita Prefecture, northern Kyushu, was a major center of Shugendo, the syncretic mountain religion mixing elements of esoteric Buddhism, Daoism, and other forms of mountain "religions". The version practised in Kunisaki was a variant based on Tendai and Hachiman.

Fudo Myo is strongly associated with Shugendo, so I expected to see a lot of Fudo statuary, but actually there wasn't all that much.

These first three were all at Taizo-ji.

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Though details differ, most statues of Fudo Myo have him holding a sword in his right hand, a rope in his left, and flames behind.

The devil-subduing sword represents wisdom cutting through ignorance. The rope is used to catch and tie up demons.

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The flames purify the mind by burning away material desires. Fudo Myo's fierce, fanged face is meant to frighten people into accepting the Buddhas way....

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Up on the mountainside above Taizo-Ji are the Kumano Magaibutsu, 2 huge carvings hewn directly into the cliff face.

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The one of Fudo Myo is eight meters tall and the largest cliff carving in Japan.

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I am almost sure that this old wooden statue of Fudo Myo is at Maki Odo, which also has many other wonderful wooden statues.

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In the center of the Kunisaki Peninsular is Futago-san, the highest mountain, and on it lies Futago-Ji dedicated to Fudo Myo, so there are many statues of him here. The two figues at his sides are probably Kongara Doji and Seitaka Doji.

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Like many of the Buddhist deities, Fudo Myo's origin is in Hinduism.

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4 comments:

  1. Jake , some time ago I travelled to Morioka to see a Daibatsu statue I had read about.Having found it , I also came across a cemetary in the lower grounds that had some of the most insane looking statues.Some are identical to those on this page.They are on my flickr site, under a set titled Morioka (kiddus_i2003) you may be able to explain some of the other statues (monks! and dragons)

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  2. had a look and left comments..... dragons are everywhere in Japan..... from China..... one common manifestation in Japan are the 8 Dragon Kings.....
    Best site for researching buddhist iconography in Japan is http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/buddhism.shtml

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  3. The Fudo statue at Maki Odo is reportedly the largest wooden statue of Fudo in Japan. You can see a video of me making a private tour of the museum at Makiodo. They have a wonderful collection of statues from the 12th/13th century. Click the JOURNEYS IN JAPAN icon after clicking the below link: http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/videos-buddhism-shintoism.html

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  4. Hi Mark
    Yes, thats the 6th photo above yes?..... the one in Okayama is much bigger but much newer...... keeping up with superlatives in Japan is difficult :)

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