Ganjin Wajo


Priest Ganjin 鑑真 がんじん
and the
Temple Toshodai-Ji
(Tooshoodaiji 唐招提寺)

Quote from the Wikipedia
Jianzhen or Ganjin (鑒真 or 鑑真; 688–763) was a Chinese monk who helped to propagate Buddhism in Japan. In the eleven years from 743 to 754, Jianzhen attempted to visit Japan some six times.

Jianzhen was born in Jiangyin county in Guangling (present day Yangzhou, Jiangsu) with the surname of Chunyu (淳于). At the age of fourteen, he entered the Buddhist church as a disciple of Daming Temple (大明寺). At twenty he travelled to Chang'an for study and returned six years later, eventually becoming abbot of Daming Temple. Besides his learning in the Tripitaka, Jianzhen is also said to have been expert in medicine. He opened the Buddhist church as a place of healing, creating the Beitian Court (悲田院)—a hospital within Daming Temple.

In autumn 742, an emissary from Japan invited Jianzhen to lecture in his home country. Despite protests from his disciples, Jianzhen made preparations and in spring 743 was ready for the long voyage across the East China Sea to Japan. The crossing failed and in the following years, Jianzhen made three more attempts but was thwarted by unfavourable conditions or government intervention.

In summer 748, Jianzhen made his fifth attempt to reach Japan. Leaving from Yangzhou, he made it to the Zhoushan Archipelago off the coast of modern Zhejiang. But the ship was blown off course and ended up in the Yande (延德) commandery on Hainan Island (海南岛). Jianzhen was then forced to make his way back to Yangzhou by land, lecturing at a number of monasteries on the way. Jianzhen travelled along the Gan River to Jiujiang, and then down the Yangtze River. The entire failed enterprise took him close to three years.
By the time Jianzhen returned to Yangzhou, he was blind from an infection.

In the autumn of 753, the blind Jianzhen decided to join a Japanese emissary ship returning to its home country. After an eventful sea journey of several months, the group finally landed at Kagoshima (鹿児島), Kyūshū (九州), on December 20. They reached Nara (奈良) in the spring of the next year and were welcomed by the Emperor. At Nara, Jianzhen presided over Todaiji (東大寺), now among the oldest Buddhist establishments in Japan.

The Chinese monks who travelled with him introduced Chinese religious sculpture to the Japanese. In 755, an ordination platform for 400 people was constructed. In 759 he retired to a piece of land granted to him by the imperial court in the western part of Nara. There he founded a school and also set up a private temple, Toshodaiji (唐招提寺). In the ten years he was in Japan, Jianzhen not only propagated the Buddhist faith among the aristocracy, but also served as an important conductor of Chinese culture.

Jianzhen died on the 6th day of the 5th month of 763.

A dry-lacquer statue of him made shortly after his death can still be seen in his temple at Nara. Recognised as one of the greatest of its type, the statue was temporarily brought to Jianzhen's original temple in Yangzhou in 1980 as part of a friendship exchange between Japan and China.

Jianzhen is credited with the introduction of the Ritsu school of Buddhism to Japan, which focused on the vinaya, or Buddhist monastic rules.
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jianzhen

Daruma Pilgrims in Japan: Kentooshi
The Ambassadors to China
By Gabi Greve

restauration of the statue
source : www.asahi.com/culture


Temple Toshodaiji (Tooshoodai-Ji 唐招提寺)
By Ad G. Blankestijn

Toshodaiji is a very special temple. In the first place, it was founded by Ganjin, a Chinese priest who made the perilous journey to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese government to introduce correct monastic rules and establish an authentic ordination platform. Although Buddhism had been known and even flourished in Japan for two centuries, this important aspect thought to give legitimacy was still lacking. In the Far East, a tradition (whether it be a religious teaching or a craft) is handed down from master to disciple and it is important to be part of the legitimate line - in this case, the direct transmission from the Buddha to his disciples and so on through the ages.

In the second place, Toshodaiji became a terminus for Chinese immigrant artists (several of whom probably traveled with Ganjin), who introduced the latest styles of Buddhist sculpture from 8th century China. One of these styles, favoring statues carved from wood, became dominant in the Heian period, after the capital had been moved to Kyoto in the late 8th c.

And in the third place, as Toshodaiji was a private temple, dedicated to instructing monks in the ascetic precepts, it kept out of politics and thus survived relatively intact until our own times. Four of the original, 8th c. buildings are still extant, among which the Kondo or Golden Hall (the only example to survive from that period) and the Kodo or Lecture Hall, which was originally a hall of the Nara palace and donated by the court to the new temple. The existence of these old buildings in the quiet, wooded grounds makes Toshodaiji one of the most beautiful temples in all of Nara.
- Ad Blankestijn


................................. HAIKU

Ganjin Memorial Day, Ganjin Ki 鑑真忌
kigo for mid-summer

according to the old lunar calendar on the 6th day of the 5th month (May).
At the Temple Tooshoodaiji 唐招提寺 in Nara the day is now celebrated on the 6th of June.

鑑真忌 青葉に沁みる 朝の鐘
Ganjin ki aoba ni shimiru asa no kane

Ganjin Memorial Day -
the morning bells reverberate
in the green leaves

Kuroda Momoko 黒田杏子 くろだももこ
NHK Haiku, September 2006


observance kigo for mid-Autumn
Kangetsu Sanbutsu-E 観月讃仏会
Moon Viewing Ceremony

on the day of the full moon

Nara no tsuki yama dete tera no ue ni kuru

the moon of Nara
comes over the mountains
and above the temple

tsuki no yo ni kaihi midokoro no santaibutsu

on the full moon night
three doors are opened to show
the three Buddha statues

. Yamaguchi Seishi 山口誓子 .


October 21 - 23
Shaka Nenbutsu E 釈迦念仏会 Ceremony for Shaka Nyorai

1月1日 修正会護摩供 1月3日 修正会護摩供・餅談義 1月15日 大般若転読法要
2月15日 涅槃会
4月中旬~5月頃 9時~16時 御影堂供華園特別開園

5月19日 13時~14時 中興忌梵網会 - うちわまき Bonmoo-E, uchiwamaki
uchiwa maki eshiki うちわまき会式 fan scattering

6月5日 ~ 6月6日 開山忌舎利会
8月23~24日 地蔵盆
中秋名月の日 観月讃仏会
10月21日~23日 釈迦念仏会 礼堂特別公開
11月17日 8時~16時 写経会
source : utamakura


At the Grave of Ganjin, Matsuo Basho wrote

wakaba shite onme no shizuku muguwabaya

with young leaves
the dew from your eyes
I want to wipe

The slightly swollen eyes of the statue seem to hint at Ganjin's blindness. The closed eyes, with the eyelashes painted on, attract the viewer's attention to the face. It is a moving statue that manages to capture the essence of Ganjin. Basho must have harbored the same sentiment. The tears ('dew') are rather Basho's own tears, on meeting the blind monk, who almost lost his life when bringing the Buddhist Precepts to Japan.

Wiping the eyes with green leaves is also a compassionate gesture towards the monk who can not see the green, young leaves of the new spring. In this way, he can feel their soft new life and smell their freshness... Indeed, the Ganjin statue almost seems alive. Facing him, one can not help but being filled with great respect and affection.
- Tr. and Comment by Ad Blankestijn

Ganjin of Shodaiji Temple endured seventy adversities in his
attempts to come to Japan from China. He is said to have lost his sight due to the salt wind blown into his eyes.
Worshipping at his sacred image

with a young leaf
I would wipe the tears
from your eyes

Tr. Barnhill

Oi no Kobumi 笈の小文
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


wakaba shite ...
若葉して御 めの雫ぬぐはヾや




hiki naite Tooshoodaiji haru izuko

a toad calls -
at temple Toshodai-Ji
where has spring gone ?

The toad comes out in early spring to lay eggs, and goes back to hibernation.
Then in late spring toward early summer, it comes out again.

. Mizuhara Shūōshi (Shuuooshi) 水原秋桜子 Mizuhara Shuoshi .


Haiku about Temple Toshodaiji

おぼつかな唐招提寺萩の闇 金久美智子
なく雲雀松風立ちて落ちにけむ 秋櫻子 (唐招提寺)
まづはちす見てより唐招提寺みち 南千恵子(狩)
一燈なく唐招提寺月明に 橋本多佳子
初霜や唐招提寺志す 鈴木花蓑 鈴木花蓑句集
和上にも見えてや一つ紅蓮(唐招提寺鑑真廟) 飴山實 『辛酉小雪』

唐招提寺一隅に座し月を待つ 池田ひさ子
唐招提寺伽藍の布置や鳥曇 森 澄雄
唐招提寺幔はづし待つ今日の月 木阪 登
唐招提寺裏のすかんぽ多佳子亡し 上野さち子
唐招提寺裏白萩の一分咲き 松尾隆信

大寺の月の柱の影に入る(唐招提寺讃月会) 野澤節子 『存身』
小春日の地明り唐招提寺かな 伊藤敬子
橿鳥のをかしき唐招提寺かな 森 澄雄
洩れ陽さす唐招提寺冬構 鈴木六林男
炎ゆる日の甍の上にとゞまれる 秋を (唐招提寺)
竹伐り置く唐招提寺門前に 西東三鬼
絵襖も月の唐招提寺かな 角川春樹 夢殿
蓮の実のとんで唐招提寺かな 上部隆男
薬師寺も唐招提寺も良夜かな 田中冬二 俳句拾遺

蛇消えて唐招提寺裏秋暗し 秋元不死男(1901-77)
蛇穴をいでて唐招提寺あり 小松虹路

袷着て唐招提寺まで来たり 松根東洋城
足向くは唐招提寺秋の声 北さとり
釜干して唐招提寺秋高し 高田廣稲子
馬肉赤し唐招提寺曇りつつ 星野昌彦
鳩吹きて唐招提寺築地道 小坂順子
鴟尾凛と唐招提寺年を守る 渡辺恭子

source : HAIKUreikuDB


tama oogi, hosen, hoosen 宝扇 treasure-fan

A toy version of the fan used for the ceremony to honor Ganjin

uchiwa maki eshiki うちわまき会式 fan scattering

on May 19th at the special hall Shariden and the
drum tower (koroo 鼓楼).

This ceremony is in memory of abbot Kakujoo.
The nuns of the temple offered round fans at his grave. They were later collected and scatted from the drum tower Koroo.

Legend relates to saint Kakujoo shoonin 覚盛上人 (1194 - 1249).
When he was sitting in Zazen, many mosquitoes came to disturb him and suck his blood.
His disciples hurried on to hit the mosquitoes and kill them.
But Kakujo held them back:
"Right now I am practising making offerings (fuse gyoo 布施行)
and offer my blood to the mosquitoes."
Only after his death did the disciples and the nuns offer fans at his grave.

Even now they are made by hand and sold at the temple.

. Folk Toys from Nara .

宝扇ガーゼタオル light towel with fan imprint
宝扇ストラップ treasure fan as strap
source : Amulets and Talismans from Toshodaiji .

. WKD : uchiwa maki 団扇撒 (うちわまき) "scattering fans"
kigo for early summer


. Temple Todai-Ji 東大寺 - Nara .




Gabi Greve said...


NHK Program about Ganjin

Japanese Only

Gabi Greve said...

'Eye-opening ceremony' for Ganjin replica statue

A replica statue of the Chinese monk Ganjin has been unveiled to the public at a temple in western Japan.
Ganjin Wajo helped to spread Buddhism in Japan in the 8th century. He reached Japan after several failed sea voyages and becoming blind. He founded the Toshodaiji Temple in the ancient capital of Nara.

The original statue is a designated national treasure and is only shown to the public for a few days a year.
Priests carried the replica through the temple's main gate to the hall, where people gathered for a ceremony to impart it with spirit.
As part of the ritual, priests recited sutras and scattered flower-shaped papers.

The replica was made with the same methods used to create the original.
It will be on permanent display at the temple starting Friday to coincide with the 1250th anniversary of Ganjin's death. The original is also on display until Sunday.

Jun. 6, 2013 - NHK world news

Gabi Greve - facebook said...

梔子の 花の香白し 鑑真忌

anniversary of Ganjin--
the scent of Cape jasmine
wafts whitely

Naotaka Uematsu