Friday, February 22, 2013

A Japan Photo per Day - The Moss-Covered God

Mizukake Fudo Statue, Hozen-ji Temple, Namba, Osaka
The coin offerings box in front of the Buddhist temples (saisenbako) is almost omnipresent in Japan. But there are some unusual cases, when the offerings are of a different kind…

At Hozen-ji, a temple located close to the Dotonbori area from Osaka, you will find a very unusual statue, with an equally unusual custom: in front of the statue there’s a bowl of water and, instead of offerings, the visitors are… splashing the statue with water! The statue represents the god Fudo Myo-o (Acala by the Sanscrit name), a wrathful god (see here a typical Fudo Myo-o statue), one of the most respected and loved deities in Japan, and because of this custom, the statue is called Mizukake Fudo (mizu means “water"). Today, after many years of water-splashing, the statue is completely covered by moss and it doesn’t seem so wrathful anymore. Only the flames from the back (which are said to burn the evil) are reminiscent of the original, frightening image…

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