3/14/2010

Takao San Festivals

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Takao San Festivals
and Izuna Daigongen 飯縄大権現

***** Location: Mount Takao, near Tokyo
***** Season: See below
***** Category: Observance


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Explanation

CLICK for more photos

quote
Mt. Takao-san 高尾山, located west of Tokyo and at the eastern edge of the Kanto Mountains, is a sacred mountain that represents the Tama area. The area is designated as Meiji-no-mori Takao Quasi-National Park. Emperor Shomu ordered Yakuo-in Temple to be built halfway up this mountain in 744, and people have worshiped at the temple for more than 1,200 years.

At the mountain is a statue of a 'tengu,' a long-nosed mythical figure. Tengu is believed to be a deified image of a man who mastered the rigorous ascetic disciplinary customs associated with an ancient Japanese practice of mountain worship to acquire magical and spiritual powers. This statue is now a symbol of Mt. Takao-san. Between April and October, you may at times see ascetic devotees participating in a religious practice that includes standing beneath the cascading waters of the Biwa-daki or Hebi-daki Falls.
source : www.jnto.go.jp

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Temple Yakuo-In 薬王院 (Yakuoo in)

quote
The Buddhist temple on Mount Takao is formally known as Takao-san Yakuo-in Yuki-ji, and most commonly as Yakuo-in. It was established in 744 on the orders of Emperor Shomu as a base for Buddhism in eastern Japan and its founder was Gyoki, a charismatic priest closely associated with the erection of the Great Buddha at Todai-ji Temple in Nara.

Yakuo-in was restored late in the 14th century by Shungen Daitoku 俊源大徳, a priest from Mount Daigo in Kyoto, one of the most sacred sites of Shingon esoteric Buddhism, with close connections also to Shugendo (mountain asceticism). He performed a very demanding goma fire ritual dedicated to the deity Fudo Myo-o (Immovable King), burning 8,000 goma sticks, and he subsequently received a living vision of the deity Izuna Daigongen and enshrined this deity as the principal image. Shungen Daitoku is as a result often described as the second founder. Through his efforts, Yakuo-in became connected to the Shingon esoteric Buddhism and Mount Takao flourished as a Shugendo center.

During the civil war period that lasted from the late 15th to the late 16th century, a number of powerful warrior lords, such as Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin, looked to Izuna Daigongen as a protector deity. The Hojo family, who held the Kanto region under their sway, were particularly strong devotees and they placed Mount Takao under their special protection.

It was no accident either that the mountain occupied an important strategic position. During the Edo period (1603–1867), Yakuo-in expanded under the patronage of the ruling Tokugawa family. Today Yakuo-in is one of the three head temples of the Shingon-shu Chisan-ha Sect, the others being Narita-san Shinsho-ji and Kawasaki Daishi Heiken-ji.

Iizuna Daigongen 飯縄大権現 Izuna Daigongen




Shungen Daitoku enshrined Izuna Daigongen at Yakuo-in as the principal image. Izuna Daigongen is a form in which Fudo Myo-o appears to bring people to salvation. The angry-faced Fudo Myo-o is in turn an avatar of the Dainichi Nyorai (Buddha of Cosmic Life). The Izuna cult had begun at Mount Izuna in present-day Nagano Prefecture in the Heian period (794–1185), and eventually it spread to shrines throughout the land.

Izuna Daigongen combines the elements of five deities: Fudo Myo-o, Karuraten (Garuda, a divine bird), Dakiniten (a demon that feeds on human hearts), Kangiten (a fertility deity with the head of an elephant) and Benzaiten (the deity of water, music and victory in battle). Izuna Daigongen protects devotees from harm and brings them happiness and security in their daily lives.

Read also about the Tengu of Mt. Takao:
source : www.takaosan.or.jp

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Priest 俊源大徳 Shugen Daitoku


Izuna Gongen appears to priest Shungen Daitoku


source : www.zoeji.com - 俊源大徳



source : www.butudanfujisawa.jp

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scroll with Izuna


shuin 朱印 temple stamp


. Fudo statues and Gongen Manifestations - Akiba Gongen


飯縄不動尊 Izuna Fudo Son
The Izuna Daigongen at Mount Takao used to be called this way.
. Tengu and Fudo Myo-o 天狗と不動明王 .





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kigo for mid-spring

Takao-san no Hiwatari Matsuri
高尾山の火渡り祭 (たかおさんひわたりまつり)
Walking through hot embers at Mt. Takao

fire-walking ritual

click for more photos


On the second Sunday of March
each year a large open-air fire ritual called Saito Goma-ku is held in the open area in front of the Kito-den Hall at the foot of Mount Takao. As though it were by the hands of Izuna Daigongen, worshippers rub their bodies with sticks called nadegi, which are later thrown into the flames.



When the fire dies down, yamabushi and participants walk barefoot over the hot coals, praying for protection against sickness and calamity and for safety within the family. The flames are considered to purify people by burning all defilements away.
source : www.takaosan.or.jp





I visited this ritual when I still lived in Kamakura. It was one of the most powerful events I ever participated. Our hair was standing on end because of the electricity caused by the huge flames.
And to watch all these brave people, after the yamabushi, stepping in a heap of salt before stepping on the hot embers ... running as fast as they could through the dying flames ...


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kigo for mid-spring
(sometimes listed for late spring)


. Takao-san onnna moode 高雄山女詣, 高尾山女詣 (神護寺)
Ladies visiting Jingo-Ji, Takao-san
 

Kooboo Memorial Day, Koobooki (Kobo-ki) 弘法忌
Kuukai Memorial Day, Kuukaiki (Kukai-ki) 空海忌

March 21


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Other rituals at Mt. Takao and temple Yakuo-In

Goma fire ritual at the New Year

Setsubun, February 3


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Tengu waffles, filled with green tea cream
天狗焼き Tengu Yaki

Sold only in the summer season

. WASHOKU
Waffles filled with cream - dorayaki
 

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Takaosan Tengu Curry 高尾山 天狗 カレー







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Worldwide use


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Things found on the way



. Tengu and Daruma 天狗とだるま


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HAIKU


火渡祭高尾の春のはじまれり
hiwatari sai Takao no haru no hajimareri

fire-walking ritual -
spring at Mount Takao
starts from here

Shimasaki Shufu (Shuufuu) 島崎秀風




Hiwatari rituals are also performed at other temples in Japan.


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Related words

. 関東三十六不動霊場 - Nr. 08
Pilgrimage to 36 Fudo Temples in Kanto (Bando) .



***** . Fire Festivals


***** . Shugendo 修験道 Yamabushi Mountain Ascets  

***** . 高雄内供奉 - Takao Naigubu - a Tengu from Nara .
柿本僧正 Kakinomoto Sojo

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3 comments:

Gabi Greve said...

Saburoo, Saburō 三郎天狗 Saburo Tengu
飯綱三郎天狗 Izuna Saburo Tengu
Iizuna Gongen 飯綱権現


.
http://gokurakuparadies.blogspot.jp/2016/08/saburo-tengu-iizuna.html
.

Gabi Greve said...

飯縄寺 Iizunadera Temple (Iinawadera)
千葉県いすみ市岬町和泉2935-1 / Chiba, Isumi, Misakichoizumi, 2935-1
and Tengu legends
.
https://kappapedia.blogspot.jp/2017/07/tengu-chiba-legends-masks.html
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Gabi Greve said...

Yakushi Nyorai and Tengu Legends 薬師と天狗伝説
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https://gokurakuparadies.blogspot.jp/2017/11/yakushi-and-tengu.html
.