Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Due South : Zentsuu-ji, Kagawa – General Info and Kuukai

Date Published: Last Update:2015/04/29 Travel & View point , ,

Zentsuu-ji : General Info

Zentsuu-ji 02

Zentsuu-ji is a name of the temple which was built by the well-known monk Kuukai a.k.a. “Koubou-daishi” (The Grand Master Koubou) *.
(The French fashion label “Kookai” is named after the priest.)
Then, the location where the temple is also began to be called as “Zentsuu-ji”.

*About the title “Daishi”
It seems that the title was originally from China.
I don’t know its Chinese pronunciation.
In Japan, it was (is?) a posthumous title given by the Imperial Court generally to the chosen high priests.
Kuukai is one of 24 high priests who has got the title, but now, he is often referred as just “daishi (san)”, so it may sound like the unique title just for him.

 

How to get there

The Zentsuu-ji (officially spelled out as “Zentsuji”) station is next to Kotohira.
From Kotohira, it only takes about six minutes by a local train.

From the Okayama station, take a train to the Zentsuu-ji station.
20-minute-walk from the station.
Although there is a free city bus running from the station, it only runs twice a day to the temple.
See here for the bus timetable (Japanese website).

[About the train to Zentsuu-ji]

If you take a limited express train (need extra fee for the express ticket), it goes direct and takes about an hour.
If you take an ordinary train (no extra fee unless you want to have a reserved seat), you may have to transfer at least once and takes about an hour and a half.
Every train from Okayama going to stations in the Shikoku island crosses the Seto Oohashi (the bridge across the Seto Inland Sea).
So, when it’s windy, it often gets delayed or stops.

 

About Kuukai

Koubou

- Statue of Kuukai -
Photo from Photo AC

Born in 774 in the province of Sanuki, the present Kagawa prefecture, as a member of the Saeki family.
His father was one of the local officials who were in charge of governing the region.

At the age of fifteen, he moved up to Kyoto to become a government official like his father.
He had learnt from his uncle, and when he was eighteen he entered an elite bureaucrat training school.
However, he soon left the school and started Buddhism training in mountains.

When he was 31, he went to China to study at his own expense.
After two years, he brought back a huge amount of Buddist items like scriptures, pictures and ritual implements.
The list of items were handed to the Imperial Court.
This catapulted him into the limelight.
He even gained a trust from the Emperor.

Based on the knowledge he had learnt in China, he established a new Buddhist school called “Shingon-shuu” (lit. “True words religion”), which is now one of the major Buddhism sects.

In 816, he asked a permission to the Imperial Court for establishing a temple in Kouya-san (Mt. Kouya) in the present Wakayama prefecture.
Emperor Saga accepted his request and gave him the mountain.
The name of the temple is Kongoubu-ji, but probably much more famous as “Kouya-san”.
(The temple was closed to women until 1872.)

At the age of fifty, he was asked by the Emperor to take over Tou-ji (lit. East Temple) in Kyoto, one of the temples that the government established and managed.

Since his first literal work in 797, he wrote many books about Buddhism till he died in 835.

Kuukai is also very famous for his hand-writing.
There is a proverb in Japanese, “Koubou mo fude no ayamari” (“Even Koubou could brush error”), which means “Anybody makes a mistake” (“Nobody is perfect”).
Other similar proverbs are:
“Saru mo ki kara ochiru” (“Even a monkey could fall from a tree”).
“Kappa no kawanagare” (“Even kappa* could drown in the river”).

*Kappa is a Japanese monster who lives in the water.

Kappa

- Kappa -
Illustration from Illust-ya

[My personal impression of Kuukai]

Honestly speaking, I felt that Kuukai was far from generous or modest, with too much self-esteem, after my research for this post.

His first book was to praise Buddhism to compare with other two major religions in Japan, Confucianism and Taoism.
The book was to explain that he chose Buddhism of the three because it was the best.
In his later work, he seemed to have concluded that his Shingon-shuu was the best of all the Buddhist schools.

Also, when he took over Tou-ji, he appealed to the Imperial Court not to allow monks to live there except ones from his Shingon-shuu, in spite of the fact that there were monks usually from various sects back then in this sort of government-owned temples so that they could learn different doctrines together.
His outrageous and arrogant request was accepted.

I’ve never read his works, so I cannot tell my impression is right, but I can’t help doubting if he just wanted to praise himself, insisting “I am the best!” in his works.

Next post : The temple and around

 

Related posts:
#Konpira(1) (2) (3) (4)

#Kotohira City

The following two tabs change content below.

kara

A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Around Okayama : Ushimado Olive Garden

I have never been a fan of olives. If there is olive on my food, I patiently remove and set them aside. But when my friend invited me to go to an olive orchard, I immediately assented because I was curious about it and maybe they have some olive variant to my liking. Ushimado Olive […]

Read Article

DSCN2281

Visiting Hokuei – The Birthplace of Detective Conan

One of the longest running manga and anime today is Meitantei Conan (lit. Great Detective Conan) or known as Case Closed in the West. To date, the manga has more than 80 volumes and the anime has more than 700 episodes. For those who are not familiar with it, it is about highschool detective who […]

Read Article

Glico2

Osaka Quest:Dotonbori and Hozenji

Ebisubashi (Ebisu bridge), Dotonbori (Doton moat) Dotonbori and Ebisubashi are well-known as bustling areas. There are many famous things like a large neon sign of the Glico running man and a huge moving crab on the front of the crab restaurant called “Kani douraku”(literal translation is “Crab indulgence”). [The neon sign of Glico] You may […]

Read Article

FukiyaJinja

The Fukiya village in Okayama, Japan -Part 2-

What to see in the village centre There are several shops, cafes and even museums in the quite short high street. [The former Katayama residence] The house for the head family of Katayama, built in the late Edo era. The Katayama family was a very powerful merchant who made a fortune by producing “Bengara”. The […]

Read Article

Tsukudo shrine

Mystery tour: Taira no Masakado – Part 2 –

Barrier for Masakado? There are seven main shrines (including “Kubi-zuka”) for Masakado. They are said to have been built to seal the powerful spirit of Masakado as well as to make use of it. [1. Torigoe shrine] It is not officially admitted, but this shrine is said to be the place where Masakado’s hand(s?) is […]

Read Article

Torii of the Konpira Shrine

Due south: Konpira Shrine in Kagawa – Part 1 –

First of all, Kagawa is a name of a prefecture in Japan and has nothing to do with a Japanese footballer Kagawa. Konpira in Kagawa Konpira-guu or Kotohira-guu is one of the well-known shrines in Japan. Often people affectionately call it as “Konpira-san”. The word “Konpira” came from the Sanskrit, “Kumbhira”. I couldn’t find any […]

Read Article

IMG_0312

Omihachiman and the man named William Merrell Vories – Part 1

Every time I visit Japan for work, one of the many highlights I look forward during my stay is to get to travel with my Japanese language teacher – I fondly call her sensei. We have traveled together to so many different tourist destinations around Kyoto and Okayama. Having her as a travel buddy is […]

Read Article

Adachi Garden 4

North by northwest: Adachi Museum of Art, Shimane

Adachi Museum of Art General Information The entrance fee is quite expensive to compare with other museums. Almost the same (or higher) price as Vatican Museums. It’s 2300 yen (about 20 US dollars!) for an adult as of February 2015. I know it costs a lot to keep the garden (and art), but I still […]

Read Article

DSCN4045

Learning, More Fun in Nagoya City Science Museum

Since grade school, I always like science museums. Learning outside the four corners of the classroom or beyond the books and wiki pages I read is fun and more exciting than sitting for hours. Interactivity is the key here. It is because I learn and remember more when I can use more than one of […]

Read Article

Kitaro2

North by northwest: Sakaiminato, Tottori

Sakaiminato in Tottori Sakaiminato is a port city in Tottori prefecture. “Sakai” means “border” in Japanese, and “Minato” is “port”. It is famous for a Japanese cartoonist called “Shigeru Mizuki”. (“Shigeru” is his first name.) He grew up there. His best known work is “Ge ge ge no Kitaro”, and the city has a street […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑