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"Zenkoji Engi" -The story of the principal image and the founding of Zenkoji that you should know before going to the Kaichō

"Zenkoji Engi" -The story of the principal image and the founding of Zenkoji that you should know before going to the Kaichō

This spring, the long-awaited opening of the book will be held at Zenkoji Temple in Nagano City.Once every seven years, it is the opening of the book to publish the "Maedachihonzon", an alter ego Buddha that looks the same as the principal image of Zenkoji.The principal image of Zenkoji is the oldest Buddhist statue in Japan, "Ikko Sanson Amida Nyorai," which was introduced from India through Baekje on the Korean Peninsula about 1400 years ago with the introduction of Buddhism. Amida Nyorai) ".It is also called Zenkoji Nyorai.However, this principal image is considered to be an absolute secret Buddha, and since the kitchen is always closed, it cannot be worshiped even when the book is opened.In this special article, we will introduce Zenkoji Temple and Kaichō through the story "Zenkoji Engi", which tells the story of the principal image and the founding of Zenkoji Temple.

Kaichō held for 88 days

The Zenkoji Gokaicho will be held from April 4rd to June 2022th, 4.Originally scheduled to be held in the spring of Reiwa 3 (6), it was postponed from the viewpoint of preventing the spread of COVID-29 infection.

In the Kaichō, the gold thread tied to the right hand of the Maedachi Honzon, which has the same appearance as the Honzon "Ikko Sanson Amida Nyorai" (hereinafter referred to as "Zenkoji Nyorai"), stretches into a "five-colored thread" and becomes whiter. It becomes a "line of goodness" and is tied to the "turning pillar" built in front of the main hall.It is said that touching the pillar of merit will lead to the connection with the principal image of the Buddhist priest, and will give merit.
Last time, the number of worshipers at the opening of the book in 27 was estimated to be 2015 million (announced by the Zenkoji Secretariat).

Zenkoji EngiState of "Maedate Honzon sengū ceremony"
Zenkoji Engi27 (Heisei 2015) "Chunichi Garden Ceremony (Jodo Sect)"

The story of Zenkoji Nyorai, the principal image of Zenkoji, and the founding of Zenkoji is called "Zenkoji Engi".Auspiciousness means "Iwa" such as shrines and temples. What is "Zenkoji Engi"?To hear the story, I visited "Fuchinobo", a shukubo in front of the gate of Zenkoji Temple.

Shukubo, Fuchinobo, who has played a role in conveying "Zenkoji Engi"

Zenkoji EngiThe appearance of the inn, Fuchinobo
Zenkoji EngiEach shukubo has a Mido

At Zenkoji, there are 25 shukubos of the Tendai sect whose main temple is Daikanjin and 14 shukubos of the Jodo sect whose main temple is Daihongan. We welcome worshipers from all over the country, such as working on Zenkoji Temple and serving shukubo cuisine (vegetarian cuisine) as a lodging and resting place.One of the shukubo, Fuchinobo, plays the role of handing down "Zenkoji Engi".The map of the Edo period also says "Engido".Mr. Takanori Wakaomi, the chief priest of Fuchinobo, and Mr. Noriyoshi Wakaomi, the deputy chief priest, explained.

Zenkoji EngiMr. Yoshinori Wakamasa, the chief priest of Fuchinobo, who is also the secretary-general of the temple

Abbot
"Each shukubo has its own role, and our job is to convey" Zenkoji Engi "as an auspicious hall. It is said that this story was established during the Heian period, but it has been passed down for a long time. I think it came. In the "Iroha Jiruisho" compiled in the latter half of the Heian period (late 12th century), the capital of Kyoto was in the middle of the Nara period (8th century). It is written that the existence of the main Buddhist priest of Zenkoji was known. ). "Zenkoji Engi" has come to be spoken in various forms such as books, bills, and rakugo (play "Okechimyaku"). By becoming a familiar picture biography, it blended into the hearts of the common people and spread throughout Japan, playing an important role in laying the foundation for the belief in Zenkoji. "

Zenkoji EngiThe paintings drawn during the Muromachi period are also Nagano prefecture treasures.The story starts from the hanging scroll in the middle, and the story is spelled in the order of right and left.
Zenkoji EngiThe picture biography drawn in the Edo period has a clear frame division.Start reading from the lower right to the upper left of the hanging scroll at the right end, and the upper left of the hanging scroll at the left end is the last frame.

Unfortunately, many of the valuable materials before modern times disappeared due to fire, and after the Battle of Kawanakajima during the Warring States period, Daimyo such as Shingen Takeda, Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Ieyasu Tokugawa moved Zenkoji Nyorai to various parts of the country. It was lost because it was enshrined (relocation dedication).
There are various forms and people who drew the picture, such as a hanging scroll and a single picture, but in Fuchinobo, the oldest existing three-width hanging scroll (Treasure of Nagano Prefecture) in the Muromachi period, etc. It seems that he has four points such as a four-width hanging scroll from the Edo period, in which bright colors are preserved without fading at all.Both the chief priest Kakunori and the deputy chief priest Noriyoshi use the hanging scrolls of the Edo period to explain the story whenever they have the opportunity.

In addition, Fuchinobo holds the five-volume book "Zenkoji Engi Mikuni Denrai Zenkoji Nyorai Engi" published in the Edo period (1692).This is a new four-volume book written in Chinese written by Naoyori Sakauchi, a national scholar in Kyoto who left a wide range of books, rewritten into a pseudonym, and is widely used by the general public. It is said that it has come to be read.

Zenkoji Engi"Zenkoji Engi Mikuni Denrai Zenkoji Nyorai Engi" by Naoyori Sakauchi

Deputy Chief Abbot
"It is called Kanjin to solicit purification goods (donations to temples, etc.) for new construction, restoration, and reconstruction of temples and Buddhist statues. There is no Danka system at Zenkoji. Since it takes money to manage the temple, we have to worship many people. Daikanjin Temple of Honbo (originally the title of collecting donations, but it became the name of the temple ) Has been around since the Kamakura era, and many priests flew all over the country as Zenkoji Hijiri, and talked about "Zenkoji Engi" with the hanging shaft of the alter ego of the principal priest, and carried out missionary activities. "

Due to the missionary activities of Zenkoji Sei and the relocation dedication during the Warring States period, the number of temples that claim to be Zenkoji and have Buddhist statues that have the same shape as the principal image has increased, and the Zenkoji faith has spread.According to a 4 survey, there were 1992 temples with Buddhist statues of the same shape as Zenkoji Nyorai, and 443 temples calling themselves Zenkoji.Taking this survey as an opportunity, the "National Zenkoji Association" was established, and the "Zenkoji Summit" is held once every two years.
("Zenkoji Summit": At the 2019 Summit, in addition to exchanging information between Zenkoji members nationwide, lectures for the general public and "Goshuin Tour" where you can get the red stamps of the temples of Zenkoji members nationwide were held.)

Zenkoji Nyorai was born in India and came to Japan via Baekje.

Next, I asked about the absolute secret Buddha, Zenkoji Nyorai.Zenkoji Nyorai was born in India, passed through Baekje (first half of the 4th century to 663) on the Korean Peninsula, and was introduced to Japan in 552 during the Kofun period when Buddhism was introduced.What kind of Buddha statue is Zenkoji Nyorai, which is considered to be an absolutely secret Buddha?The Ikko Sanson Amida Nyorai mentioned at the beginning is Amida Nyorai in one halo (expressing the light emanating from the Buddha), Kanzeon Bosatsu on the right, and left. It refers to the Buddhist statue in which the Seishi Bodhisattva is placed, and is called Zenkoji Nyorai in honor of these three gods.

Zenkoji EngiZenkoji Nyorai, Ikko Sanson Amida Nyorai

Deputy Chief Abbot
"Zenkoji Nyorai-sama has a shape that is not found in Japanese Buddhist statues. The halo is usually attached only to Amida Nyorai-sama, or it is attached separately, but it envelops the three gods together. Also, the feet of the three gods. There are no petals on the lotus stand, and Amida Nyorai-sama's seal (hand shape) is in the shape of a halo and choki. Give the water of wisdom to everyone like a halo. It is said that there is a halo of Kanzeon Bosatsu and Seiji Bosatsu, whose left and right hands are piled up and down, and it is said that there is a box of medicine to cure the disease. It is also a feature that the moon lid chief (Gakka Ichoja) and Nyoraiji (Nyoraiji) will always appear at your feet. "

The chief of the moon, Nyoseihime, is the person who lived in India and was the catalyst for the birth of Zenkoji Nyorai.

Zenkoji EngiNoriyoshi Wakamasa, Deputy Chief Abbot who explained about Zenkoji Nyorai

From here, I will introduce some episodes from the story of "Zenkoji Engi" which started about 2500 years ago.

The founder of Buddhism, Shakuson (Shakuson), created Zenkoji Nyorai.

About 2500 years ago, when Shason lived in India, there was a chief named Tsukifusa.Shason sent his disciples and sons to save the moon lid, which had no heart to give to others, but it did not come true, and he finally headed for the moon lid.Still, the greedy heart cannot be changed.However, the beloved daughter of the moon lid, Nyoseihime, is sick and has no way to treat her.Believing in Shakuson's teaching, "Believe in Amida Nyorai, and save all suffering by Amida Buddha, Kanzeon, many people, and the great mercy of Sanson," the moon lid continued to pray. rice field.Then the three Buddhas appeared, and when his rays were applied to his daughter, the illness was cured.The moon lid asks Shason to keep the figure of the Sanson Buddha.Shakuson receives a gold nugget called Jambudvipa, which is the greatest treasure of Ryugu Castle.On the day of casting, when Shaka Nyorai illuminated it with light, the gold nugget transformed into a Sanson Buddha.This is Zenkoji Nyorai.

  • Zenkoji EngiShakuson is casting Zenkoji Nyorai
  • Zenkoji EngiThe appearance of Shakuson casting Zenkoji Nyorai is depicted in the Edo period picture biography.

Deputy Chief Abbot
"It is Zenkoji Nyorai who melted the gold with the rays of Shaka and Amida Nyorai and created the alter ego of Amida Nyorai. The real Amida returned to Gokuraku Jodo, and the alter ego Zenkoji Nyorai came from India. After passing through the Korean Peninsula, he came to Japan 1400 years ago (the ancient burial mound era). Even though he is an alter ego, he is a thankful Buddha who made himself. "

Time has passed, and Seong of Baekje (reigned 523-554) ruled the world in Baekje on the Korean Peninsula.In fact, Seong of Baekje is a reincarnation of the moon lid.However, the king did bad deeds without knowing it, but he was converted when Zenkoji Nyorai, who came from India, told him about his past causes.And Zenkoji Nyorai will move to Japan as the place of the next indoctrination (teaching and guiding living things and giving grace).

Zenko Honda brought back Zenkoji Nyorai to Shinshu

In Japan, Buddhism was introduced in 552 under Emperor Kinmei during the Kofun period (around the XNUMXth century).There was a dispute over whether or not to accept this, Mr. Soga of the Buddhist sect, Mr. Mononobe of the abolished Buddha sect, and Mr. Nakatomi. , Zenkoji Nyorai is thrown into Horie in Namba (a waterway that Emperor Nintoku is said to have built in present-day Osaka City) by Mr. Mononobe.

On the other hand, Yoshimitsu Honda, who lives in the village of Omi in Shinano Province (currently Iida City Zakoji), takes his son, Yoshisuke, and Kokushi Shinano (current governor). ) As a follower.On the way back from the capital of Kyoto, when I happened to stop by Horie in Namba, Zenkoji Nyorai shining from the water appeared with a voice calling for Zenko.Zenko lived as a moon lid in India and Seong of Baekje in Baekje, and was told that he had a long relationship with Zenkoji Nyorai. , Enshrined.It was 602 in the Asuka period.Then, in the same Asuka period, in 642, when he became Emperor Kogyoku, he decided to move to Imoi, Minochi-gun, Shinano Province (the area where the current Zenkoji Temple is located), at the behest of Zenkoji Nyorai. became.

By the way, it is said that the place where Zenko first enshrined Zenkoji Nyorai was the origin of Moto-Zenkoji in Iida City, and Zenkoji in Suwa City Hunan was the place where he stayed on the way from Iida to Nagano.

  • Zenkoji EngiAbove is Zenko, who carries Zenkoji Nyorai on his back, and on the left in the center is the figure of Emperor Kogyoku standing on the needle Mushiro.
  • Zenkoji EngiIt depicts Zenko Honda carrying Zenkoji Nyorai on his back and returning to his hometown.

Deputy Chief Abbot
"Zenkoji Nyorai-sama is also known as Shojin Nyorai, and he seems to have felt the same size as a human being and body temperature. Zenkoji finds Zenkoji Nyorai-sama and carries it back, but sometimes Nyorai-sama. The Buddha carries the good light on his back. The Buddha has the impression that it is a one-sided prayer for humans, but this Tathagata often talks with people and has many episodes that help people. It ’s close to people. ”

Zenkoji is built in Nagano City

For a while after moving to Imoi, Minochi-gun, Yoshimitsu's son, Zensa, died without warning.Zenkoji Nyorai visits Enma the Great to save Zensa who has fallen into hell due to his actions.On the way, Zensa, who was allowed to return to the old woman (Shaba = the world where humans live), met the empress, Emperor Kogyoku, who was exhausted by being driven by a demon, and helped the emperor instead of himself to Zenkoji Nyorai. I beg you to do it.A temple was built in the Kofun period (644) at the request of the Emperor Kyoku, who was helped by Zenko, and the temple became "Zenkoji" in the name of Honda Zenko. I did.

Zenkoji EngiIn the scene of hell, many figures of Zensa's white costume are drawn.

State of Zenkoji at the time of its construction

Zenkoji Temple at the time of its construction is surrounded by a wall, and you can also see the five-storied pagoda.The shukubo is drawn in the upper left.And in the lower left, the figures of women and poor people are also drawn.It is depicted in the Muromachi period picture biography that Zenkoji is a temple that guides all sentient beings (all living things including human beings) to the Paradise Pure Land regardless of denomination, status, gender, etc.

Zenkoji EngiState of Zenkoji at the time of its construction

Deputy Chief Abbot
"When Zenkoji was founded, there were no denominations in Buddhism yet. There were also shrines and torii gates on the temple grounds (Shinbutsu Shugo). Zenkoji is said to be a temple of all denominations. Is from this origin. And it is Zenkoji Nyorai who saves any person. Women and low-ranking people are depicted in this picture biography. However, it is very rare because the temples and shrines at that time were forbidden to women. "

Being drawn by a cow and visiting Zenkoji

When a poor-hearted grandmother living in the village of Chiisagata in Shinano Province (near the present-day Komoro City's Nunobiki Kannon) exposes the cloth in the river, a cow appears and hooks the cloth on the tsuno and leaves.As the hurried grandmother chases the cow, she finally reaches Zenkoji.Zenkoji Nyorai appears on her grandmother's dream pillow, who has fallen asleep in her main hall, and her reminders change her disbelief.This anecdote is not in the hanging scroll of the Muromachi period.It is believed to incorporate a story that was popular during the Edo period.

Zenkoji EngiScene of "Pulling by a cow and visiting Zenkoji"

So far, I have introduced some episodes depicted in "Zenkoji Engi", but in this way there is a magnificent historical story behind the origin of Zenkoji and the birth of Zenkoji Nyorai.
In addition, many of the 14 Jodo sect shukubo are Wakamasa surnames and have protected Zenkoji as descendants of Honda Zenko.At the time of the interview, one of them, the chief priest, was the secretary-general of the Zenkoji secretariat, which changes every two years between the Tendai sect and the Jodo sect.We asked again about the thoughts that have been played a central role in the opening of the Kaichō.

Abbot
"It is my greatest wish that COVID-19 will converge quickly. It was postponed for one year, but I know that many people are waiting, and I am still worried about Corona. Many people will be there. Since the opening of the book will last for 88 days, we hope that you will thoroughly disperse, be safe, and feel secure, visit us in peace, and pray. It is the best.
Kaichō connects the past, present and future.In the past, the memory of "I came with my grandpa and grandma" is ingrained.Currently, I have the joy of being able to visit at this moment, and in the future I have the wish of being able to visit again in seven years.I think that it is the moment when you feel the preciousness of facing yourself and thinking of the principal image. "

There are many other interesting episodes such as Prince Shotoku appearing in "Zenkoji Engi" and having a correspondence with Zenkoji Nyorai.In addition, the Buddha statues of the Honda family = Zenko, Zenko, and Zenko's wife are enshrined in the far right of the main hall of Zenkoji.It is extremely rare for a woman to be enshrined as a Buddhist image, which is also a symbol of the depth of the Zenkoji temple, which "leads all sentient beings to the Paradise Pure Land, regardless of denomination, status, or gender."If you experience the painting of "Zenkoji Engi" at the shukubo, Fuchinobo, and visit the Zenkoji Gokaicho, the precious experience once every seven years will be enriched.

Reference: "Zenkoji Engi Monogatari" (written by Naoyori Sakauchi, translated by Ichiro Kobayashi / Koryudou), "Zenkoji Ejiden"
Zenkoji Shukubo Association: Dedicated phone number Tel.026-237-7676

Interview / text: Koichi Imai
Photo courtesy of Kaichō: Zenkoji
Photo: Nobuhiko Abe

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