10/02/2005

82 Negoro Temple

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Negoro Temple 根香寺
Shikoku Pilgrimage Nr. 82

The Shikoku Pilgrimage is divided into four stages, the last 23 temples of which are the final stage, that of nirvana, or enlightenment. Within this section, is temple No. 82, the Temple of the Fragrant Root. The Thousand Armed Kannon, a female deity who symbolizes mercy and purity, presides here. In her thousand arms, she holds a thousand implements, including an arrow, a crown, a spear, a mirror, a bell and a moon, which she uses to protect humanity.

She embodies the suffering of the world and works for the salvation of all. Her mantra is "Om, purge all saturated karmas by the imperishable dharma hrih" -- hrih being the pure nature of humans. She is called Senju Kannon in Japanese, and is represented by a small stone statue. She is situated beautifully, looking out upon Shiraishi Island and the Inland Sea beyond, offering salvation for those now and in the future.

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Amy Chaves, Shiraishi Henro

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Temple Nr. 82, Negoro-ji, is located in the middle of a dense forest on a high mountain. There again I found a little red talisman of Daruma with a hole in the back, but this time a little frog was peeking out of it.

Kobo Daishi lived in a mountain retreat there for a while before going to China with an official embassy.
The famous statue of Kannon, which Chisho Daishi carved from a fragrant root of the Lotus Valley, is said to have produced a sweet smell, hence the name of the temple. The fragrance of this statue was so strong that it welled down with the river, Kagawa 香川, which later gave name to the whole province of Kagawa.
Chisho Daishi was inspired by an apparition of an old man with white hair, an incarnation of the deity Ichinose Myoojin, and later by Zao Gongen himself.

In a special sanctuary and corridor half down in the earth you can donate a small Kannon statue, which will be placed there for prayers for one year. People usually buy it with a special wish, either for themselves of for a loved one lost.






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En no Gyoja









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http://www.shikoku.gr.jp/iyashi/english/tera88/82.htm

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Negoro-ji is known as a spot for viewing maples in November and cherry blossoms in April. As it is a mountain temple, the approach from the Nio-mon Gate to the Main Hall has scores of stone steps. The site is surrounded by a thick grove, the preferred environment for ascetic practices early in the 9th century when the temple was founded by Kobo Daishi here at a height of 370 m.

Later in 832, Chisho Daishi 智証大師, Kobo Daishi's nephew, built several halls and carved a Thousand-handed Kannon.

However, the whole temple was burnt down in the 1580's by Chosokabe Motochika. It was gradually rebuilt by Lord Ikoma II and Lord Matsudaira I. Then it was turned into a temple of the Tendai sect in honour of Chisho Daishi.

The present main image is another Thousand-handed Kannon carved by Chisho Daishi. It is an Important Cultural Property open to the public only once every 33 years. The serried ranks of countless images of Kannon glimmering in the corridor-like wings of the Main Hall were dedicated here by Kannon worshippers from all over the country.

Legend has it that a white monkey used to guard Chisho Daishi every time he visited this mountain for ascetic practice. Its home was the huge zelkova tree in the front yard which has now died of old age.

Another animal to which magical powers were attributed was Ushi-oni,
a bull-headed, winged ogre. It killed men, women and children as well as a large number of animals, until it was shot down by a great archer, Yamada Kurando. Now the monster's statue can be seen in the shady approach to the Main Hall. Somehow it has turned into a guardian deity against devils.


Temple Hymn No.82

The night frost is gone.
All that fills our ears now
is chanting and chanting with gongs.

(宵の間の妙なる霜の消えぬれば あとこそ鉦の勤行の声)
http://www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/~steve/kagawa/capital.html

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Ushi-Oni, the Bull Demon, 「牛鬼像」



Copyright (C) 1997-2002 I.HATADA

Look at some great photos of the temple by Hatada san.
http://tencoo.fc2web.com/jinja/xs-negoro.htm



. Folk Toys and Legends about Ushi-Oni .

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青峰山 根香寺

本尊 千手千眼観世音

白峰の名は残雪に由来し、青峰は松が多いためといわれ、弘法大師は入唐前にこの山へ登って草庵を結び、霊場とした。天長九年(八三二)智証大師が青峰の麓へ巡錫したとき、白髪の老翁(市之瀬明神)があらわれ「ここは観世音の霊地で三谷ある。毘沙門谷に行場を、法華渓に本堂、後夜谷には法華三昧の道場をつくり、また、蓮華谷の香木で本尊の観世音を刻むように」と告げた。

その後智証大師は青峰に登り、老僧と出会うが、この老僧は山の守護神の山王権現であったことから、山を開くにあたり、市之瀬明神と山王権現を鎮守としてまつり、香木で観世音の尊像を刻んで先の老翁のいうごとく安置した。この香木の根の香りがあまりにも高いので寺名となり、また、香りが川に流れて香ることから「香川」の県名がつけられたともいう。智証大師が伽藍を建立後盛んになり、後白河天皇の勅願所にもなった。現存本堂への廻郎には戦後の勧進による万体観音像が奉安されている。
http://www.shikoku-net.co.jp/88/8882.htm

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Reference

Cow and Ox Deities of Japan

Daruma Pilgrims in Japan: Ambassadors to China, the Kentooshi

Kannon Bosatsu by Mark Schumacher (external LINK)

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1 comment:

Cow Lady said...

Thanks for the info. Gabi. Yes, there is a cow connection to this temple. Isn't that lovely?? I also like the photo you posted of the ushi oni.