Shitennoji


Shitennoji
(Osaka)

Shitennoji, founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku,
is the oldest officially administered temple in Japan.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

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There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Shitennoji is in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Shitennoji & Assorted Temples
Shitennoji, Katsuoji, Kofukuji Gojunoto,
Nanzenji Sanmon, Chion-in Sanmon,
Ryozen Kannon, Ueno Bentendo, Kanteibyo

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Shitennoji

Founded by Prince Shotoku (593), this is the oldest officially administered temple in Japan.

Built by Kongo Gumi (world’s oldest construction company, operating for over 1400 years),
the temple has been destroyed many times over the years, and the buildings have had to be
rebuilt each time. The last time the buildings were reconstructed in concrete to fireproof them.

When Prince Shotoku was only 14 years old in 587, together with his father-in-law the head
of the powerful Soga clan, he fought the Mononobe clan who were against the introduction of
Buddhism into Japan. Prince Shotoku prayed for help to the Shitenno (Guardian Deva Kings),
and promised to erect a temple in their honor if they helped him to defeat the Mononobe clan.
His army was won the battle, and he started the construction of the temple called Shitenno-ji.

The first State Temple in Japan, there is a monument outside the West Gate that states:
“Buddhism arrived here for the first time in Japan”.

To build the temple, land was confiscated from Mononobe,
and many of his people were enslaved to form the labor force.

Shitennoji_Gojunoto_8965


Shitennoji Gojunoto 8965

A view of the Gojunoto (5-story pagoda) and the roof of the Kondo from over the wall.

Shitennoji_Rokujido_8938


Shitennoji Rokujido 8938

The Rokujido was reconstructed in the beginning of the Edo period (early 1600s)
and is one of the oldest buildings on the temple grounds (most of the other buildings
were destroyed by fire or typhoons, the most recent early in the 20th century).

The Rokujido is a worship hall where services are held six times a day.

ShitennojiRokujido_roofDetail_8942


Shitennoji Rokujido roof Detail 8942

Shitennoji_Rokujido_TurtleSanctuary_8940

Shitennoji Rokujido Turtle Sanctuary 8940

Outside the Shitennoji Rokujido, there is a stone
pond with a multilevel platform that serves as a
turtle sanctuary. There are hundreds of them.

Apparently, people started abandoning their pet turtles
in the pond outside of the Rokujido, and they just stayed.
The monks feed them and the turtles seem to like the pond.
 There certainly are a lot of them, basking on their steps.
 

ShitennojiKondo_Gojunoto_8970


Shitennoji Kondo Gojunoto 8970

A steep oblique angle showing the Gojunoto (5-story pagoda), Kondo (Main Hall),
and Kodo (Lecture Hall) from right to left, taken from a corner of the Kairo (colonnade).

Shitennoji_Kairo_Kodo_8982


Shitennoji Kairo Kodo 8982

The Kodo (Lecture Hall) and the Kairo
(covered colonnade). The Kairo surrounds the
central enclosure housing the Kondo and Gojunoto.

To the right, the Gojunoto (5-story pagoda) and
the Kondo (Main Hall). Inside the Kondo is a
statue of Juichimen (11-headed) Kannon.
Inside the Gojunoto is a Shitenno display.

Both are shown below.

Shitennoji_Gojunoto_8967


Shitennoji Gojunoto 8967

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Shitennoji is in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Shitennoji & Assorted Temples
Shitennoji, Katsuoji, Kofukuji Gojunoto,
Nanzenji Sanmon, Chion-in Sanmon,
Ryozen Kannon, Ueno Bentendo, Kanteibyo

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Shitennoji_JuichimenKannon_8983


Shitennoji Juichimen Kannon 8983

Shitennoji_JuichimenKannon_8983c


Shitennoji Juichimen Kannon 8983c

The Juichimen Kannon (eleven-headed Kannon)
displayed in the Kodo (Lecture Hall). To the left is a
1200 pixel image resized from the full sized version.
Above is an 1125 pixel 4x5 detail crop, and below
is a tight detail crop of the head (no linked image).

Shitennoji_JuichimenKannon_8983detail

Juichimen Kannon
(eleven-headed Kannon)

One of the six Esoteric forms of Kannon.
The form was introduced to Japan in the 7th c.
from China. The lower ten heads represent the
10 Stages of the Bodhisattva Path to Enlightenment
and the eleventh head (in the highest position in the
center) represents the 11th stage: Buddhahood.

A small standing image of Amida known as
a kebutsu is mounted in the center front.

Juichimen Kannon Bosatsu is the Kannon of Compassion
and Mercy. Prince Shotoku Taishi was considered to be
an embodiment of Juichimen Kannon after his death.

Prince Shotoku is regarded as the father of the Japanese Nation. Inspired by Confucius’ writings, he wrote the original constitution, established the political system, and built 46 major Buddhist temples including Shitennoji and Horyuji Temples. He was one of the first royal converts to the Buddhist faith and was instrumental in the establishment of the religion in Japan. He is revered as a Buddhist saint.

Shitennoji_YakushiNyorai_8950


Shitennoji Yakushi Nyorai 8950

Yakushi Nyorai (the Healing Buddha) is enshrined
in the Rokujido, the training center and worship hall
shown earlier above the turtle sanctuary. Yakushi
literally means Medicine Teacher. He is one of the
most loved and revered Buddhist figures in Japan.

Shitennoji_YakushiNyorai_detail_8950


Shitennoji Yakushi Nyorai detail 8950

An 880 x 1200 detail crop prepared just
for this display (thus the larger text). The image
is very highly detailed (731kb) but allows for the
examination of fine detail (e.g. the tiny Buddhas).

Shitennoji_Binzuru_8958


Shitennoji Binzuru 8958

Shitennoji_Binzuru_detail_8958c


Shitennoji Binzuru detail 8958c

A detail crop (750 x 1125).

Binzurusonja
(Bindora Baradaja, Arhat of the West)

Binzuru is a Japanese transliteration of Pindola/Bindora, and sonja means well-respected monk.

Binzuru (Pindola), an Arhat renowned for his occult and psychic powers. The statue is
considered to have the power to heal, and people rub the statue where they have a problem.
The statue is well-worn, and it seems many folks have headaches and shoulder problems.

Binzuru Sonja (Binzuru, or Pindola) was one of the four Arhats asked by Buddha to remain
in the world to propagate Buddhist Law. Each was associated with a compass direction.
In Japan, the most popular is Pindola (called Binzuru or Binzuru Sonja), who is said to
have excelled in occult and psychic powers and was once scolded by Buddha for
using these powers to impress people. He is renowned for his healing powers.
People rub his body where they have pain for him to absorb it and cure them.

Shitennoji_Taishakuten_8960


Shitennoji Taishakuten 8960

The mightiest of the gods, Lord of storm, thunder and war.

Taishakuten (Indra) riding an elephant. He is Commander of the Shitenno, Lord of the Center.

Taishakuten defends against evil, and has attributes of both creator and sun god. In India,
he was ruler of the gods of the Veda. Similar to Zeus in the Greek pantheon, he is one of the
12 Devas who protect the world. In Japan, Taishakuten is often shown riding an elephant.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Shitennoji is in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Shitennoji & Assorted Temples
Shitennoji, Katsuoji, Kofukuji Gojunoto,
Nanzenji Sanmon, Chion-in Sanmon,
Ryozen Kannon, Ueno Bentendo, Kanteibyo

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Shitennoji_Gojunoto_8969


Shitennoji Gojunoto 8969

The five story pagoda, shot from two angles.
Inside are the statues of Shitenno shown below.

Shitennoji_Gojunoto_8984


Shitennoji Gojunoto 8984

Shitennoji_Kondo_Gojunoto_8977


Shitennoji Kondo Gojunoto 8977

The Main Hall (Kondo) with the Pagoda (Gojunoto) in the background.

Shitennoji_Kondo_Gojunoto_8980


Shitennoji Kondo Gojunoto 8980

Shitennoji_Tamonten_Komokuten_8988


Shitennoji Tamonten Komokuten 8988

Shitenno-ji was built to honor the four Shitenno (Deva Kings), protectors of Buddhist Law
and of Humankind... the four Heavenly Guardians. These statues have an Asuka-period
look about them, but considering how many times Shitennoji has been destroyed
or burned and rebuilt, they are probably reproductions from a later period.

The brush and scroll of the Shitenno on the right identifies him as Komokuten,
and the pagoda (treasure-house) held by the Shitenno on the left identifies Tamonten.

They are shown standing on Jyaki demons (evil spirits),
which symbolizes their ability to repel and defeat evil.

Below, I have images taken from each side of the two displays (which are on
opposite sides of the pagoda interior), and have made composites of each
pair of the same set, as well as a composite showing all four Shitenno.

Shitennoji_Tamonten_Komokuten_8996


Shitennoji Tamonten Komokuten 8996

Shitennoji_Tamonten_Komokuten_8992


Shitennoji Tamonten Komokuten 8992

Shitennoji_Tamonten_Komokuten_8992-96


Shitennoji Tamonten Komokuten 8992, 8996
(composite will open in a second tab or window)

A composite of the two images shown above (shots taken from each side).
The statues of the four Shitenno are on opposite sides of the pagoda interior.

Shitennoji_Jikokuten_Zochoten_8994


Shitennoji Jikokuten Zochoten 8994

Zochoten with the spear, Jikokuten with the sword.

Shitennoji_Jikokuten_Zochoten_8995


Shitennoji Jikokuten Zochoten 8995
 

Shitennoji_Jikokuten_Zochoten_8994_95


Shitennoji Jikokuten Zochoten 8994, 8995
(composite will open in a second tab or window)

A composite of the two images shown above (shots taken from each side).

ShitennoDisplay_ShitennojiGojunoto_8995-96


Shitenno Display Shitennoji Gojunoto 8995-96
(composite will open in a second tab or window)

A composite showing all four Shitenno, as follows (left to right):
Tamonten, with his Treasure House;
Komokuten, with his brush and scroll;
Zochoten, with his spear;
Jikokuten with his sword.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Shitennoji is in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Shitennoji & Assorted Temples
Shitennoji, Katsuoji, Kofukuji Gojunoto,
Nanzenji Sanmon, Chion-in Sanmon,
Ryozen Kannon, Ueno Bentendo, Kanteibyo

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Shitennoji_NyoirinKannon_9003


Shitennoji Nyoirin Kannon 9003

Shitennoji_NyoirinKannon_9000


Shitennoji Nyoirin Kannon 9000

The six-armed Shingon representation of Nyoirin Kannon is another form of Avalokiteshvara,
like the Juichimen Kannon shown earlier. Shown sitting on a lotus flower, the six arms each
represent one of the karmic realms, and a vow to save beings in the six realms of rebirth:

      Right hand holding a rosary: represents the vow to save beings in the animal realm;
      Right hand holding the wish-fulfilling jewel represents the vow to save beings in the realm of hungry ghosts;
      Right hand touching the cheek represents the vow to save beings in hell;

      Left hand toughing the lotus throne represents the vow to save beings in the realm of demons;
      Left hand holding a lotus flower represents the vow to save beings in the human realm;
      Left hand reaching back to touch the Dharma Wheel represents the vow to save beings in the Deva realm.

Often, the statues of the six-armed Nyoirin Kannon are holding the Dharma Wheel.
This one has the wheel mounted on the back of the throne, behind her head.

Shitennoji_NyoirinKannon_9000detail


Shitennoji Nyoirin Kannon 9000 detail

A 960 x 1200 detail crop.

Shitennoji_Dragon_8972


Shitennoji Dragon 8972

Shitennoji_Dragon_8974


Shitennoji Dragon 8974

Shitennoji_Dragon_detail_8974c


Shitennoji Dragon detail 8974c

A 1360 x 1088 detail crop.

Shitennoji_Monk_9005


Shitennoji Monk 9005

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Shitennoji is in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Shitennoji & Assorted Temples
Shitennoji, Katsuoji, Kofukuji Gojunoto,
Nanzenji Sanmon, Chion-in Sanmon,
Ryozen Kannon, Ueno Bentendo, Kanteibyo

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