9/22/2012

Keiryu-Ji temples

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Keiryuuji 慶龍寺 Keiryu-Ji
“Celebratory Dragon Temple”


There are various temples with the name Keiryu-Ji in Japan.

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泉子育観音 慶龍寺 Izumi Kosodate Kannon Keiryu-Ji
茨城県つくば市泉2348
Ibaraki prefecture
Near mount Tsukuba

This Kannon statue has been carved by Kukai Kobo Daishi in 807 for a temple in Kyoto and found its way here via a disciple 随弟法師, who founded a Kannon Temple in Odawara.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was very fond of this statue and claimed it as his "career Buddha" 出世観音.
Izumi no O-Kannon sama 泉のお観音様
source : www.izumi-kosodate.com

quote
For centuries, when parents and grandparents in the villages and towns of Southern Kanto have wanted to pray for their children`s growth, health, safety, and future success, they have come to a temple associated with the Shingon Sect of Buddhism, located near the banks of the Sakura River in the neighborhood of Izumi, near the foot of Mt Tsukuba. Though officially bearing the name KEIRYU-JI (慶龍寺)- as it was founded by a priest called KEIRYU-SHONIN back in the year 1618, it is much more commonly ( and affectionately) referred to by locals as the Izumi Kannon Sama ( The Izumi Goddess of Mercy Tempe) or the Izumi Kosodate Kannon( 泉子育観音 )- The Izumi Kannon of Childrearing Temple.

The reason that the temple is associated with the Buddhist Deity Kannon
(whose name literally means ONE WHO LISTENS to the suffering of others – and who in Japan has evolved from a male to a female deity - a universal MOTHER of sorts) is that housed in its Main Hall is an image of Kannon said to have been carved by the great Priest Kukai himself ( the founder of the Shingon Sect) in the year 807.

It is believed that this image was originally placed in Kukai`s temple in Kyoto- To-Ji (東寺) as a supplication for the healthy growth of children in general.

In 1472, however, this image was taken to a temple called Kannon-Ji in the town of Odawara in what is now Kanagawa Prefecture. There, this image became venerated over the years as it was believed to answer the prayers worshipers who prayed to it. It is even said that in the late 15th century, the man who would later become Shogun and founder of the Tokugawa Dynasty- Tokugawa Ieyasu had beseeched this Kannon for aid in battle. And since he did go on to spectacular achievements on the battlefield he remained a devotee for the rest of his life.



Then in the year 1615 ( already 15 years into Tokugawa Family rule), the head priest of the Kannon-Ji Temple, the above mentioned KEIRYU SHONIN (慶龍上人) is said to have had an impressive dream - in fact, he had the same dream for seven successive nights! In it, the Image of the Goddess of Mercy appeared to him and said ( and I roughly quote):
Take me quickly to The East, where I will save all children in need of my help!


Taking the dream in all seriousness, the priest packed up the Kannon image and headed eastward. As he approached Mt Tsukuba, there was heavy rain, and the Sakura River swelled and sped up making it difficult to cross. He was planning to wait a while to get to the other side. Then suddenly, a youth appeared with a boat, and offered to ferry the priest to the far bank. When they successfully made the crossing, the boy vanished into thin air ( according to the story) and Keiryu saw the image of the Kannon (which was still in its crate) hovering over the river.

He realized then and there that this was a special spot and decided to set up shop near that same bank of the Sakura, in the village of Izumi ( now part of Tsukuba City).

The image quicky gained numerous devotees who believed it had helped bring about a cure for their children`s illnesses and by 1618 Keiryu was able to build a proper temple on the spot.

The Lords of the Tsuchiura Domain (the Tsuchiya), who controlled Izumi for much of the Tokugawa Period were generous supporters of the temple (one of its extant gates was a gift of the family in 1687. Whenever they toured their domain ( which always needed more childred - to increase the population) they would almost surely make a pilgirimage.

In the present age, the Kosodate Kannon is still a popular place to pray for anything related to children - their health, welfare, safety, good behaviour AND their conception.

It is still one of Tsukuba`s most popular places (for locals) for November SHICHI-GO-SAN celebrations for girls of  3 and 7 and boys of  5 years of age (strictly speaking the effects of this temple are only supposed to be for children up to the age of 7).

It is also popular for locals to take their newborns their to be blessed (and to get an appropriate amulet). They even have ceremonies which supposedly calm down kids who throw tantrums or are uncontrolable.

Pregnant women also come for blessings (usually on Days of the Dog, according to the Japanese zodiac. This is because dogs symbolize easy delivery).

More about mamemaki, throwing beans ceremony :
source : blog.alientimes.org


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Keiryuuin 慶龍院 Keiryu-In
長崎県上県郡 上対馬町豊村
Nagasaki prefecture
Tendai sect 天台宗
The main statue is Kannon Bosatsu 観音菩薩.





慶龍寺
宇津ノ谷 (静岡県静岡市駿河区)
Shizuoka prefecture
serving 10 dumplings to prevent evil
厄除けの十団子
source : shizupika_net

. Mount Utsu 宇津の山 .
and the 10 dumplings


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Keiryuu Hanten 慶龍飯店 Keiryu Restaurant
is also a favorite name with Chinese restaurants.
- Reference -




鎌倉龍占堂慶龍 Kamakura Ryusendo Keiryu
Fortune telling Keiryu in Kamakura
source : kamakura-ryusendo.com


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. Dragon Temples of Japan .


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