Sunday, August 28, 2011

A story of Shinran's meeting with a hungry ghost



This is a painting of Shinran and a Gaki on Mt Tsukuba ( from the Jofuku-Ji temple in Ozone Tsukuba).
As we know, unlike other Buddhist schools, in Jodo Shinshu there are no ceremonies to feed the hungry ghosts (segaki). In relation with this, I recently found a story from Tsukuba and the surrounding area involving Shinran Shonin’s visit to Mt Tsukuba.


It is said that Shinran was staying at some lodging house at the foot of Mt Tsukuba the night before his planned ascent of the mountain. While he slept he dreamed of a boy who announced himself as the messenger of Nantai Gongen ( the male god of the mountain). The boy went on to beseech the great priest to visit the middle one, of 3 caves he would find on the mountain`s slopes.

Shinran found the cave and entered. First he found two jars with a little water in them. Then deeper into the cave he found a gaki (a hungry ghost). The tormented spirit told Shinran that because of past evil actions he was now suffering terrible hunger and thirst. However, due to the merciful kindness of the deities of the mountain every day, he and the other gaki could drink one drop of water each day.The Gaki then went on to beg Shinran for relief in the form of food or water.

Shinran, however, was certain that ANYONE who said the nembutsu of faith would be saved. And this, according to the story, is exactly what happened. After saying nembutsu with the Gaki for a day- he was saved and taken to the Pure Land by a mysterious cloud.

It is said that this story was a proof for followers of Tsukuba area that it was not necessary to make offering to gaki because they can save themselves with the nembutsu of faith.
I am asking those who know more about this story and the Jofukuji temple, to share their knowledge here. Is this temple belonging to Jodo Shinshu? And if yes, to what branch?


2 comentarii:

Dodatsu said...

Hi Josho,
managed to find the Jofukuji temple's webpage. It belongs to the Shinshu Otani branch (Higashi Honganji). The story which was put up is more or less the same story that has been said.
Gassho,
Dodatsu (Clifton)

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

Thank you, Dodatsu! This is great!