Here are some more examples of my favorite Buddhist deity, Fudo Myo, taken while I was walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage. This first, rather unusual statue was at a Yakushi-do on a side road near Awafukui in southern Tokushima.
The rest of these are at the temple popularly known as Saba Daishi, the 4th bangai temple and the last temple before leaving Tokushima and entering Kochi.
I spent the night at the temple in the tsuyado, a small room offered for free to pilgrims. Next to the main hall was a tunnel that sloped down and around to end in a large chamber beneath the main hall. The tunnel was lined with 88 statues representing the 88 temples of the pilgrimage, something I have seen several times.
The dark chamber had a large altar to Fudo Myo. Late that night I heard a group of people going into the chamber through a side door right next to my room, obviously for some kind of ritual
Ive heard many types of Buddhist ritual, but this was unlike anything I'd ever heard before, nor since. Usually there is drumming and chanting, but this drumming was much louder, much faster, and wildly frenetic and the chanting was more like growling and shouting. It was actually unnerving, an unusual state for me. In fact it sounded like a scene from a Hollywood movie where bloodthirsty savages in a state of possession are about to sacrifice a beautiful young virgin on a stone altar surrounded by flames, a la King Kong or Raiders of the Lost Ark. I left my room to see if I could see what was going on, but decided that opening the door would have been intrusive, and of course there were no windows....