2/07/2015

Zen teacher

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- KAPPA - 河童 / かっぱ / カッパ - Manga Mukashibanashi -
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- Zenji Kappa 禅師河童 Kappa the Zen Teacher -

Yamaguchi 山口県

Once upon a long time
in the region of the cave Shoohoodoo 秋芳洞 Shohodo (Akiyoshido cave in Yamaguchi) there was a long period of drought and only strong sunshine. There has been not a drop of rain for such a long time, all the wet rice paddies had dried up. The farmers living there did not know what to do and worried all the time.
(In fact this was in the reign of Gomurakami Tenno 後村上天皇の正平9年 in 1354.

But it was not only the humans that were in trouble. At the Dragon Riverside 龍ヶ淵 near the cave there lived a Kappa who needed water too, and since there were so few fish left in the river, he was always hungry. So he went to the temple Jijuuji 自住寺 Jiju-Ji, because they had a special pond with carps for rituals - and indeed - he stole one carp and ate it!

Then the Kappa heared that the priest of the temple, Zen Priest Juen Zenji 寿円禅師 had retired to the cave to pray for rain (雨乞 amagoi) for 21 days.
By mistake the Kappa with his bad concious thought that the priest was certainly going to pray for his death, because he had stolen a fish from the pond. So he went to the cave too and tried to disturb the priest. But the Zen priest was strong and determined in his prayers and could not be disturbed, not a bit.

The Kappa was quite moved by his willpower and determination and asked the priest to become his disciple, so that he could help and support him with the rain prayers and rituals.



Finally the last day of the rain ritual came. The prayers of the Zen priest were answered and it started to rain heavily.
The priest went to the Dragon Riverside and stood on a large boulder.
The Kappa, when he became aware of this, tried to stop him but - it was too late.
The priest had vowed to give his own life if it would rain - so he jumped into the raging water below him.

The Kappa, eager to save the priest, jumped into the water himself. But because of the strong rain the river was quite wild and had formed whirlpools. The Kappa tried very hard to save the priest, but even the water goblin Kappa could not survive in this strong rain-flooded river and died too.




The villagers found the dead bodies of the priest and the Kappa way downriver many days later.
In gratitude they gave them a proper ritual burial.
And soon when they talked about this courageous Kappa, they called him

Zenji Kappa 禅師河童 Kappa the Zen Priest.

- source : nihon.syoukoukai.com

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The Akiyoshi Cave 秋芳洞


CLICK for more photos !


- quote -
Akiyoshi-dai Plateau Area
The largest limestone karst plateau in Japan, located within a quasi-national park. The most spacious limestone cavern in the entire Orient.

Located within Akiyoshi-dai Quasi-National Park, Akiyoshi-dai is the largest karst plateau in Japan, and is a designated natural monument together with the Akiyoshi-do Cavern.

The karst topography of Akiyoshi-dai was created through a process whereby an area that was a coral reef about 300 million years ago was pushed up to the surface by the displacement of the Earth's plate, turned into a mountain through diastrophism and then eroded by the wind and rain. There you can see limestone in a variety of forms on the green plateau, like the innumerable "karrenfeld" limestone columns, sinks known as "dolines," and a limestone basin called an "uvala," formed by the merging of numerous sinkholes. From the round-shaped Akiyoshi-dai karst observation spot, you can enjoy an extensive 360-degree panoramic view of the area's natural beauty.

The Akiyoshi-do Cavern is the Orient's largest limestone cave, located about 100 meters underground. This huge cave, which took 300,000 long years to be formed into what it is today, was made by limestone dissolving away in the ground water, and it extends for about 10 kilometers overall according to the latest survey. At the present time an about one-kilometer-long section of the cave is open to the public as a sightseeing course, where you can enjoy a variety of fantastic sights, like the Ao-Tenjo (blue ceiling) and a rock formation called the Hyakumai-Zara (100 plates). The temperature inside the cave is always about 17 degrees Celsius, so you need to be sure to wear clothes with long sleeves even in the summertime.
- source : www.jnto.go.jp/eng

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寿円禅師伝説 The Legend of Zen Priest Juen
and temple 自住寺 Jiju-Ji

秋芳洞の入口から2km位下流に自住寺というお寺があります。このお寺は平城天皇の大同2年(807)にひらかれたお寺であったと伝えられていますが、延元元年(1336)から57年も続いた南北朝の動乱のため、霊場は全く廃墟となり草露に埋もれていました。延元2年この地を訪れた寿円禅師はその由緒を惜しみ再興開山されました。



後村上天皇の正平9年(1354)の初夏、この地方一帯を大干魃が襲いました。作物は枯死寸前で、人々は飲み水にも困る毎日でした。この姿を見て禅師は心を深く痛め、何としても水を村人に与えたいと21日間の雨乞祈願を発願され、旧暦4月1日入洞し祈りを始められたのであります。この頃の風潮として、洞窟は神秘な場として入ればたたりがあると信じられ、誰一人入ったことのないこの巨洞に死を決して入洞されました。

満願の21日目、まだ明けやらぬ暗闇の中に大粒の雨が降り始め、やがて雷鳴と共に豪雨が襲来しました。村人は外に飛び出しこの慈雨に歓喜しました。禅師は水音に大願成就したことを知り、仏天の加護を感謝しながら合掌して豪雨渦巻く竜ヶ淵に身を投じられました。



後日水が引き、変わり果てた禅師の姿が下流から発見されました。そこは自住寺の門前に近い田の中でした。住民は涙のうちにその御遺体を荼毘にふし、その骨と灰を土に練り込み、禅師の骨灰像を作って自住寺にまつりました。
これを遺灰像と呼んでいます。

山口県指定文化財寿円禅師遺灰像は、現在秋芳洞入口川向こうに御堂を建て、そこに安置し一般の方もお参りが出来るようになっています
- source : www.karusuto.com

After the deluge, the villagers found the dead body of the priest in a field downriver.
They took it back to the temple, had the body burned and made his statue out of the clay and the ashes with his bones.
This is venerated to our day as the
kotsubaizoo 骨灰像 Statue made of local clay, with the bones and ashes of the priest.




yuikaizoo 遺灰像 (ゆいかいぞう) statue made with clay and ashes of priest Juen.
This is the only statue of this kind in Japan.
寿円禅師坐像 - 自住禅寺



Ticket to the small cave of founder priest Juen 開山堂.


- - - - - Written on the tablet:
IN 1354 A.D. (9th OF SHOHEI, THE REIGN OF EMPEROR GOMURAKAMI 後村上天皇), JAPAN WAS ATTACKED BY A SEVERE DROUGHT RESULTING IN VERY POOR CROPS IN THIS DISTRICT.

APPALLED BY THIS DISASTER, AND PITYING, THE SURFFERING FARMERS DAITO JUEN ZENJI. A BUDDHIST OF THE SOTO SCHOOL AND ALSO HIGH PRIEST OF THE JIJU TEMPLE IN THIS VILLAGE, DECIDED TO PRAY TO GOD.

ON THE 1ST OF MAY, HE RETIRED TO A CAVE WHEE FOR 21 DAYS, HE PRAYED FOR RAIN, PROMISING TO SACRIFICE HIS LIFE IF HIS PRAYER WERE ANSWERED.

AT DAWN ON THE 21ST, IT BEGAN RAINING AND THE DROUGHT WAS BROKEN. JUEN ZENJI, KEEPING HIS PROMISE TO GOD, THREW HIMSELF INTO THE RUY-SA-FUCHI (FUCHI BEING THE DEEPEST SPOT IN A RIVER).

THE VILLAGERS, REMEMBERING HIS NOBLE SEFL SACRIFICE CALL HIM THE FOUNDER WHO PRAYED FOR RAIN TO IMMORTALIZE HIS DEED,

JUNTEI-KANNON WAS CARVED BY ONE OF THE LEAING SCULPTORS OF THE TIME.
- source : barbaratyreinjapan.

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. amagoi 雨乞い rain rituals, to pray for rain .
prayer for rain, ame no inori 雨の祈り,
ame inoru 雨祈る
prayer and wish for rain, ki-u (kiu) 祈雨
amulet for rain, ki-u fuda 祈雨札
Sutra when praying for rain, ki-u kyoo 祈雨経, amagoi kyoo 雨乞経

dance when praying for rain, rain dance, 
ki-u odori 祈雨踊り

- - kigo for late summer - -


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kappa no kagwanagare 河童の川流れ 
a kappa floating (drowning) in the river

a proverb meaning "even an expert can make mistakes"
kappa no kawa obore 河童の川溺れ a Kappa drowning



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kotsubaizoo 骨灰像 statue made of clay "with ashes of bones"
中世の塑像は骨灰像 another name for clay statues made in the Middle Ages of Japan.



西明寺の魍魎鬼人像 clay statue of the demon at temple Saimyo-Ji, Shiga

Shiga Prefectural Museum 滋賀県立近代美術館
- source : ameblo.jp/koikawaharumachi


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. - - - Join my Kappa friends on facebook ! - - - .

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. Kappa densetsu 河童伝説, Kappa minwa 河童民話 - Legends - Introduction .

. Mingei 民芸 Regional Folk Art from Japan .

- #kappazenteacher -
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[ . BACK to DARUMA MUSEUM TOP . ]
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