Monday, July 28, 2014

The Famous Tosa Temple - Chikurinji

The origin of Chikurinji
   The origin of Chikurinji begins when Emperor Shomu had a dream where he was awarded with the teachings of Buddhism from a Manjusri (wisdom entity) at the known Manjusri sacred grounds after ascending to the top of the Tang Dynasty Mt. Godaisan (currently Shanxi Province). Emperor Shomu was extremely moved by this dream and ordered the famous monk Gyoki to search throughout Japan to find a sacred ground like that of the Tang Dynasty Mt. Godaisan, and build a temple there. After that, Kukai gathered much knowledge and it became one of the pilgrimage sites of the 88 sacred grounds of Shikoku, and was also used for prayer by the Yamauchi Family of the Tosa Domain during the Edo period.
In front of the Main Temple where the unveiling will occur.

   In the wide grounds where you can hear the peaceful echo of bells carried by people doing the henro, it has a main temple, a main hall, beautiful gardens, a treasure hall and is one of the few temples out of the 88 Shikoku sacred grounds which has a five story pagoda as well as a surrounding forest. This surrounding forest used to be densely covered by canopy, was reborn when they decided to make the western grounds a place for people to gather. At this time they received the Buddha Dome which was made using stained glass enshrined with Buddha from India, and pebbled paths and ponds. It is now a place to relax in its tranquility, and listen to the sounds of the birds and insects.
Ohenro-san chanting the sutra in front of the main hall.
Visit Chikurinji and increase your wisdom!
   In the grounds of Chikurinji you can see many people doing the henro as well as tourists and many monks. These monks want to teach about what sort of temple Chikurinji is, and as their principle object of worship here is the Manjusri known for being the Buddha of wisdom, they want visitors to leave with even just a little bit more wisdom, and wait in the temple grounds to talk to worshipers. Because of this, there are often ample opportunities to talk to foreign pilgrims as well. There are many with an interest in Buddhism who learn of the henro from the internet and in-flight magazines. The monks have been asked questions such as "why are there so many types of Buddha?" and "why do you have depictions of your object of worship?". Also, a foreign pilgrim had the sutra with alphabet written on it, and asked if their pronunciation of the heart sutra is correct and jotted down the advice they received. Others have gotten on their hands and knees and placed their head on the ground in reverence, and other visitors are doing the henro for people who are suffering. When I heard this my heart became warm.
The five story pagoda
reconstructed in 1980 is
slightly slanted  towards the
south  after taking many months
and years of strong southern winds.
Unveiling of the Buddha once every 50 years
   The main object of worship at Chikurinji, the Manjusri, is actually a Buddhist image usually withheld from the public which can only be shown once every 50 years. 2014 is the year for unveiling and will be available for viewing over autumn during October 25 to November 25. During this time the Manjusri will sit in its Buddha seat for the first time in 300 years. As this is a unique and valuable opportunity, why not take the time to head on over to Chikurinji?
 Address: 3577 Godaisan, Kochi City 〒781-8125
 TEL: 088-882-3085 FAX: 088-884-9893
 Directions: 30 minutes from Kochi Station on the My-Yu Bus. Alight at Chikurinji-mae.

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