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The Buddhist “kakejiku” (hanging scroll), “butsuji-gake,” is used in the houyou ceremony. In Japan, as a result of the synchronization of the Shinto region with Buddhism, many strands of Buddhism unique to Japan were developed. Therefore, Japanese Buddhism includes many sects. There are many differences in the manners of the ceremony, depending on the sect and region, so the Buddhist kakejiku used in the ceremony differ depending on the sect and region.
“Namu-Amidabutsu” is a 6 kanji (Chinese characters) phrase, meaning “I believe in Amitabha.” “Namu” means “I have faith in you.” “Amidabutsu” means “Amitabha.” The “kakejiku” (hanging scroll) with the script of Namu-Amidabutsu is used in the Buddhist memorial services of the “Joudo-shuu,” “Joudo-Shin-shuu,” and “Tendai-shuu” sects.
“Namu-Shakamunibutsu” is a 7 kanji phrase, meaning “I believe in Shakamuni Buddha.” The kakejiku with the script of Namu-Shakamunibutsu is used in the Buddhist memorial services of “Soutou-shuu,” “Rinzai-shuu,” and “Oubaku-shuu” sects (Zen Buddhism).
“Namu-Daishi-Henjou-Kongou” is an 8 kanji phrase, meaning “I believe in Vairocana and respect Koubou-Daishi (a famous Japanese monk).” “Namu” means “I have faith in you.” “Daishi” means “Koubou-Daishi.” “Henjou” means “the sacred light of Buddha shines all over the world.” “Kongou” means “an indestructible substance.” This is why “Henjou-Kongou” means “Vairocana.” The kakejiku with the script of Namu-Daishi-Henjou-Kongou is used in the Buddhist memorial service of the “Shingon-shuu” sect.
“Namu-Myouhou-Rengekyou” is a 7 kanji phrase, meaning “I devote myself to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra.” “Namu” means “I have faith in you.” “Myouhou-Rengekyou” means “Lotus Sutra.” A kakejiku with the script of Namu-Myouhou-Rengekyou is used in the Buddhist memorial service of the “Nichiren-shuu” sect.
Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra (“Hannya-Shingyou”) is one of the Buddhist sutras that preaches the Kuu (Buddhism) of Mahayana Buddhism, and the Prajna school of thought. In various Japanese sects, especially “Hossou-shuu,” Tendai-shuu, Shingon-shuu, and Zen sects, use Hannya-Shingyou and interpret it individually. The kakejiku of Hannya-Shingyou is sometimes used in their Buddhist memorial services.
Juusan-butsu (13 Buddhas)
“Juu-ou-shinkou” spread in Japan during the 11th century and after.The “Juu-ou”, ten kings, are regarded as an awesome existence because they decide whether the dead should be sent to “jigoku” (Hell, one of the posthumous realms advocated by Buddhism) and preside over the “Rokudou-rinne” (transmigration in the six posthumous realms advocated by Buddhism) in light of the seriousness of the karma belonging to the dead. In Juu-ou-shinkou, the faithful beg for the mercy from the ten judges, who decide to which realm the dead would go.
In the Kamakura period, the Japanese believed that each one of Juu-ou corresponded with each of “Juu-butsu” (10 Buddhas); the number grew as time went by, and in the Edo period, “Juusan-butsu-shinkou” (the13 Buddhas belief) was born.
Buddhist memorial services were customarily held seven times every seven days, because the bereaved family could pray to the Juu-ou to seek commutation for the dead person at every trial, while additional memorial services were held in line with the additional three trials that supposedly functioned to save all dead persons.
The kakejiku, on which juusan-butsu are painted, is often displayed in Buddhist memorial services.
Kannon-Bosatsu (Avalokitesvara) is a sacred image of “Bosatsu” (Bodhisattva) in Buddhism and a kind of Buddha that has, since ancient times, attained a widespread following, particularly in Japan. There is a legend that Kannon-Bosatsu disguises herself in thirty-three forms when she saves all living things. For this reason there are various shapes of the statues of the Kannon, called “Henge(Changed)-Kannon” (other than the basic “Shou-Kannon”). Unlike the perception of Kannon as an attendant of “Amidanyorai,” Kannon-Bosatsu, which was worshipped as an independent Buddha, tends to be besought to for practical benefits in this world.
The kakejiku of Kannon-Bosatsu is sometimes displayed in Buddhist memorial services.
Shuuinjiku (Kakejiku of Series of Stamps Collected at Temples)
“Saigoku-Sanjuusan-kasho” is a pilgrimage of thirty-three Buddhist temples throughout the Kansai region of Japan. The pilgrimage route of the Saigoku Sanjusankasho includes, as additional holy places, three more temples associated with the founder of the pilgrimage, Saint Tokudou, and the Cloistered Emperor Kazan who revitalized it. The principal image in each temple is Kannon-Bosatsu; however, there is some variation among the images and the powers they possess. Pilgrims record their progress with a prayer book called “Noukyou-chou,” which the staff of each temple marks with red stamps and Japanese calligraphy, indicating the temple number, the temple name and the specific name of the Kannon image. Some pilgrims receive the stamps and calligraphy on plain silk, which will be mounted on a kakejiku (hanging scroll) by a kakejiku craftsman “hyougushi.” The kakejiku, which is called “saigoku-sanjuusan-kasho-shuuinjiku,” is very popular in Japan. It is sometimes used in Buddhist memorial services.
“Shikoku-Henro,” “Shikoku-Junrei” or “Shikoku-Hachijuuhachi-kasho” is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kuukai (Koubou-Daishi), on the island of Shikoku, Japan. Large numbers of pilgrims still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious and tourism-related purposes. To complete the pilgrimage, it is not necessary to visit the temples in order. The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles or motorcycles. The walking course is approximately 1,200 km long. Generally, it takes about 40 days by walking, and about 10 days by a sightseeing bus or car. The pilgrims are often recognizable by their white clothing, sedge hats, and walking sticks.
Many pilgrims begin and complete the journey by visiting Mt. Kouya, in Wakayama Prefecture, which was settled by Kuukai and remains the headquarters of the “Shingon-shuu” sect of Buddhism. The 21 km walking trail up to Mt. Kouya still exists, but most pilgrims use trains or cars. Pilgrims record their progress with a prayer book called Noukyouchou, which the staff of each temple marks with red stamps, Japanese calligraphy indicating the temple number, the temple name and the specific name of the Principal Image of Buddha and the Sanskrit characters to express it. Some pilgrims receive the stamps and calligraphy on plain silk which will be mounted on a kakejiku by a scroll mounter (hyougushi). The kakejiku, which is called “shikoku-hachijuuhachikasho-shuuinjiku,” is very popular in Japan. It is sometimes used in Buddhist memorial services.
|Japanese Buddhism||History||What Is Houyou?||Buddhist Kakejiku|