Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some Buddhas of Kunisaki

The Kunisaki Peninsular in northern Kyushu was home to an unusual branch of Shugendo based on a mix of Tendai Buddhism with "shinto" of Usa Hachiman. The whole peninsular was laid out as a pilgrimage route as an expression of the Lotus Sutra. There were 28 main temples, one for each chapter/verse of the sutra, and more than 32,000 stone statues, one for each kanji/character of the sutra.

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This is a statue of the Yakushi Buddha at Iwato-ji. It is in the Ko do, a study hall. It was carved out of a single zelkova tree sometime in the 11th Century. Iwato-ji is my favorite of all the temple-shrine sites on Kunisaki.

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The Kunisaki Peninsular radiates out from the highest point, Mount Futago, and the temple here , Futago-ji, is a large complex. Im afraid I dont know which buddha this statues is.

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Also at Futago-ji is this statue of Amidanyorai. Its made out of cypress and was created at the end of the Kamakura Period. Behind it is a beautiful painting, a copy of one at Enryaku-ji.

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Also at Futago-ji is this statue of the 11 headed Kannon. It was made in the latter part of the twentieth century.

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At Fuki-ji, the oldest wooden building in Kyushu, is this statue of Amida. Made of Zelkovia wood in the Heian period, it was originally painted or lacquered and traces of red are still on it.

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I dont know which buddha this is, or even the name of the temple. It was not a major temple on the tourist maps but we stopped in and were surprised by the modern paintings on the ceiling and we were served tea by the priests wife.

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Maki Odo has a fine collection of sculptural treasures including this Amida, carved in the Heian period out of Zelkovia.

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