Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shirikire Kannon

   Long long ago in a small village, a woman named Otera Baasan (the old lady of the temple) died unexpectedly. Otera Baasan liked to visit temples and could always be seen praying to Amida Buddha. So she was buried along with many Buddhist invocation tablets. That same day, a young man named Hachi also unexpectedly died.

Judge of Hell

   In the afterlife, Hachi bumped into Otera Baasan who was carrying a large bag filled with her Buddhist tablets. He asked what was in the bag, and she answered that it was full of presents for the Judge of Hell. Hachi replied, “That must be really heavy. Let me carry it for you.” Otera Baasan gratefully accepted. He replied “It’s the least I can do. Let me take it for you”. Hachi took the bag, and rushed ahead of the Otera Baasan.

   Hachi arrived in front of the Judge of Hell, and gave him the bag. The Judge was impressed that Hachi could have amassed so many Buddhist invocation tablets in his short life. So he transformed Hachi into the Goddess Kannon.

   Otera Baasan finally arrived out of breath. The Judge went into a rage when he saw that Otera Baasan had brought not even one present, despite her old age. She desperately explained to him that she had asked Hachi to carry her bag, and begged for the Judge to check its contents. Each tablet was inscribed with the word ‘Otera’.

   The judge was furious. “Unforgivable. You can never deceive me!” He ordered demons to eat Hachi, but Hachi’s upper half had already become the Goddess Kannnon – which they were not permitted to eat. The demons therefore only ate Hachi’s body below the waist. Ever since, Hachi came to be known as Shirikire Kannon – the Kannon with a split-butt!
Taken from vol.29 PDF

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