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How Many Can You Find? The Gods of Sensoji Temple

How Many Can You Find? The Gods of Sensoji Temple

Translated by Collin Radford

Written by OsawaKimie

Tokyo 2015.08.28 Bookmark

Did you know that, aside from its primary idol, the Kanzeon Bosatsu, Sensoji Temple is also home to countless Gods and Kannon? Even raccoon-like cuties!

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Did you know that, aside from its primary idol, the Kanzeon Bosatsu, Sensoji Temple is also home to countless Gods and Kannon? Among their number are several that offer unusual blessings, some with complex religious backgrounds. Today, we would like to introduce them to you!

(1) Sensoji Temple's Kanzeon Bosatsu

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Sensoji Temple's primary idol, the Kanzeon Bosatsu is a merciful Buddha that clears people of their suffering, listens to their prayers, and gives them joy.  It is characteristic for its long clothing and neck ornaments, among other adornments.

(2) Nadebotoke

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"Nadebotoke" refers to a Pindola, the highest order of Buddhist acolyte who has attained satori. It is said that if you touch this idol in the same place that you have an injury, and then touch said injury, it will heal.

(3) The Kuzuryu Gongen

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The Kuzuryu Gongen is the Jinushigami of Nagano Prefecture's Tokashi Mountain. It is a dragon god that is said to control rainfall and provide bountiful crop yields, fortune, and happiness.

(4) Fudō-myōō

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"He who guides those who are difficult to lead onto the good path", is none another than Fudō-myōō, known for his angry expression. Fudō-myōō will, if prayed to, grant a single wish.

(5) Benten

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Rojobenzaiten, enshrined in the Bentendo is, along with "Enoshima" (Kanagawa Prefecture, Fujisawa City) and "Fuse" (Chiba Prefecture, Kashiwa City), one of Kanto's 3 Bentens. Benten was originally worshiped in India. When Buddhism was brought into Japan, Benten became known as the Buddha of the shinbutsu-shugo (the syncretization of Buddhism and Shintoism). As a result, Benten is found in both Buddhist temples and Shintō shrines.

(6) Zochoten and Jikokuten

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Jikokuten and Zochoten, who are enshrined in the Nitenmon Gate, are counted among the Four Heavenly Kings of the Buddhist faith.

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Photo taken by David B.

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Photo taken by David B. Their armed figures and grim expressions indicate the positions of the Four Heavenly Deities as the guardians of Buddhism. Zochoten guards the southern, and Jikokuten the eastern fronts, and are apparently enshrined around the pagoda that houses Guatama Buddha's remains, often around his image.

(7) Daikokuten

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One of Asakusa's seven gods of fortune, Daikokuten, is enshrined in Yokodo. He carries a large bag over his left shoulder, holds a lucky mallet in his right hand, and stands on a rice bag, which add to his characteristic plump and happy appearance.  You can get a goshuin (a red seal) from the temple as proof you offered prayer.

(8) Tanuki

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Photo taken by Martin Lopatka

The Tanuki gods, known for being guardians from fire and theft, are enshrined at the Chingodo. As to why tanuki are enshrined, a monk received a revelation in a dream that  the tanuki that lived on the property were to be enshrined as ambassadors of spiritual protection (chingo).  Visitors to the shrine are healed by their charming expressions.

 

There are also countless other gods and jizo to greet visitors. Searching for them as you explore the grounds will let you see Sensoji Temple from a new angle.

Information

Sensoji

Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station (of any of the Lines)
Access: 5 minutes from the Asakusa Station of the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line,  Toubu Isesaki Line, and Tsukuba Express Line, and 7 minutes from the Toei Subway Asakusa Line
Religion: Buddhist
Phone Number: +81(0)3-3842-0181
Official Website: Sensoji Temple

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