. Legends about Bishamonten .

Bishamon-Ten . 毘沙門天
Tamonten (Vaishravana)

Bishamon is the god of warriors (but not of war) and prayed to for victory prior to battle. He is also a god of defense against foreign invaders, a deity of healing with the power to save emperors from life-threatening illness and to expel demons of plague, to keep personal enemies at bay, and to reward followers with riches, good fortune, and even children. Around the 15th century, he was enlisted as one of Japan's Seven Lucky Gods owing to his association with treasure and wealth.

Bishamonten is usually clad in armor, with a spear in one hand and a pagoda in the other. He is the scourge of evil doers, and the most powerful among the Guardians of the Four Directions.

The Shigisan Engi Emaki 信貴山縁起絵巻 (Illustrated Handscroll of the Legends of Mt. Shigi), was painted in the 12th century as a tribute to Bishamon's miraculous power to ward off illness and expel the demons of plague. It includes the story of how Bishamon cured Emperor Daigo 醍醐天皇 (885-930) by dispatching Kumāra 倶摩羅 (Bishamon's youthful dōji 童子 attendant) to help the sick emperor.

Mark Schumacher has all the details !

Bishamonten helps those born on the day of the tiger, in the hour of the tiger and in the year of the tiger.
He is especially venerated with tiger amulets at Mount Shigisan and Mount Kurama.
The tiger in the Asian zodiac represents the north-east, the direction of evil influences (kimon 鬼門). Thus Bishamon helps to protect in this direction.

. komainu 狛犬 / 高麗犬 / 胡麻犬 "Korean Dog" .

- Click for more photos !
Stone tigers like Komainu in front of Bishamon temples.

Bishamonten and Tiger Toys of Japan
Mount Shigisan and the Tiger
. Tora トラ - 虎 - 寅 Tiger Toys .


Prayer for his strength:

"Namu Tobatsu Bishamonten!
To subjugate the demons! Grant me thy power!"

Click on the photo to look at more statues !

source : hidemichitanaka.net

成島毘沙門天 Narushima Bishamonten
The largest statue in Tohoku, made from one stem of keyaki wood, 4.73 meters high.

Iwate, Hanamaki 岩手県花巻市東和町北成島5-1


Bishamonten Jin Jinja 毘沙門天神神社
Bishamon Tenjin Jinja

Shrine for the God Bishamonten in Tono, Iwate

source : dostoev.exblog.jp - 遠野不思議

. Tono Jisha Meguri 遠野寺社巡り 
temples and shrines in Tono, Iwate .


Bishamonten Festival and Daruma Market

CLICK for more photos !

Bishamonten Festival in Fuji

Bishamonten is one of the Four Great Deities (shi tenno 四天王) , who protect Buddhism in the four courners of the world.
He is also one of the Seven Gods of Good Luck (shichi fukujin 七福神).

This festival occures according to the old lunar calendar, so the date is shifting from December to February at the Temple Myoho-ji (Myoohoo-ji 妙法寺). Daruma dolls with a big beard are the speciality of this Daruma Market. This beard is one of the characteristics of the main deity, Bishamonten, of this temple. The road from the Yoshiwara station to the temple is lined with stalls and maybe more than 500.000 people are on their feet during the three days of this festival and more than 150.000 dolls are sold.

毘沙門天はだるま市有名で、三大だるま市のひとつであることすら知らなかった。両脇の出店に売られているだるまの数は、良くこれだけの数を集めたかと感心するぐらい大量の数である。今まで見てきた数の何十倍以上のだるまが、両側に所狭しと並べられている .

Look at a Daruma stamp from the station :
. 吉原宿, Yoshiwara-juku .

Hige ひげだるま 髭だるま

Daruma with a beard

© PHOTOS http://f801.at.webry.info/

Bishamonten Festival Telephone Card

Japanese LINK


Papermachee Doll of Bishamonten-Badger
Bishamon Tanuki 毘沙門狸

だるまNEWS Nr. 18. Daruma News

It has the Sanskrit Sylable (bonji 凡字) for this deity on the belly:

. Tanuki 狸 Badger amulets and Talismans .


The Bishamondo Hall in Yamashina Kyoto

This temple is most famous for the red autumn leaves (momiji), which form a red carpet on the stone stepp acces road to the temple.

It also has a "moving" painting on the fusuma sliding door, when you walk past it, the table seems to change from very small to very large.
宸殿襖絵 - 狩野益信の作 from the Kano School

MORE : www.bishamon.or.jp


Bishamonten dorei 毘沙門天 土鈴 clay bell

Bishamonten ema 毘沙門天  絵馬 votive plaque

Bishamonten hariko 張子papermachee doll

Bishamonten omamori 毘沙門天 お守り amulets

. Shichifukujin 七福神 Amulets .


. . . . . H A I K U

Bishamonten and Atago
kigo for the New Year

Messenger from Bishamonten
Bishamon no tsukai
毘沙門の使 (びしゃもんのつかい)
The Centipede is the Messenger of Bishamonten.
Ceremony at Atago, Atago no shinji 愛宕の神事(あたごのしんじ)
Messenger from Atago, Atago no tsukai 愛宕の使(あたごのつかい)
. . . o-koto no tsukai お事の使(おことのつかい)

Hatsu Atago, hatsu Atago 初愛宕 (はつあたご) First visit to Atago

In former times it was known that people who believe strongly in the Atago Deity will die on the special day dedicated to Atago 縁日の日, the 24th of each month. Legend says Saizo felt his death coming, made his preparations on the day before and then died in the evening of the Atago Day in the 6th lunar month.
. Kani Saizō Kani Saizo 可児才蔵 .

Hiroshige: Messenger to the Bishamon Temple. Shiba Mount Atago

This is a ceremony on January 3 at the temple Enpuku-Ji in Atago/Kyoto.

Priests from various temples around gather here to celebrate the eating of the first white rice in large portions.
Suddenly the Messenger from Bishamonten appears (with two others) in special colorful robes. He wears a samurai's helmet and a large staff in the form of a rice spatula (shamoji 杓子), whith which he stabs the earth three times.

The messenger (retainer) of Bishamon was thought of as a centipede (mukade, hyakusoku 百足 ), who also protected the gold mines. Centipedes are said to possess an ability to spot gold mines. Therefore people used to carry centipedes in bamboo tubes when they went to the mountains in search for gold.

These messenger centipedes are different from ordinary ones. There is something glossy and noble about them, and they appear in a drawing room, sitting room, and in the places Kojin deities and water gods preside over. You must not kill them by mistaking them for common centipedes. You may take their appearance for a sign of some change in your happiness and prosperity.

CLICK for original LINK
© coocan.jp

. mukade 蜈蚣 と伝説 Legends about the centipede .

毘沙門の使ひの百足 殺めしも
Bishamon no tsukai no mukade ayameshimo

centipede, you messenger
of Bishamonten -
I will honorably kill you

-  tahata masuhiro

a dragonfly
does the 100 prayers circuit -
Mount Atago

Kobayashi Issa and the Prayer Wheel

. The Atago shrines of Japan .


CLICK for more photos
The warlords Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin both used a centipede on their flags.

sashimono 指物/差物/挿物 war flag
mukade 無加天、蜈蚣

"WKD : Centipede gold coin", mukade koban . 百足小判
Bishamonten and Temple Kurama, First Day of the Tiger

. WKD : Kurama Festivals 鞍馬山  


Centipede, Millipede (mukade) KIGO

CLICK for original LINK : mfa.org
Tsuba sword decoration with design of Bishamon and centipede
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Bishamonten Festival

Twinkling Orion
in the dark blue sky
the festival of Bishamon temple

People wait the midnight bells
start of the sutra
Full of smoke of incense sticks

Sharpen cold air
The long line of People
Under Orion

-  etsuko yanagibori , 2008


Bishamonten is often shown together with Fudo Myo-O.
毘沙門天と不動明王 - or rather a look-alike

Shitoku Dooji 指徳童子 Shitoku Doji

source : kyobibutsuzou.com 不動三尊

source : www5a.biglobe.ne.jp/~kazu_san

. Fudō Myō-ō, Fudoo Myoo-Oo 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O
Acala Vidyârâja – Vidyaraja – Fudo Myoo .

External LINKS

Stone Carvings of Bishamonten and Fudo Myo-O
Mori Hachimangu, Kyoto

Stone Statues of Bishamonten and Fudo Myo-O


Ema votive tablet with Kannon, Fudo and Bishamonten


Saijiki of Japanese Ceremonies and Festivals

. 俵藤太秀郷 Tawara Tota .
and the legend of the centipede at Lake Biwa


..... Bishamonten, Tamonten (Vaishravana).....

Entstand aus einer hinduistischen Gottheit der Krokodile (Kubira).
Selbständige Version des Tamonten der vier Himmelskönige.
Lebt nördlich vom Heiligen Berg Kailash im Himalaya.
Nach der Theorie des Weltenberges lebt er als oberster Ten zusammen mit Taishaku Ten in der Welt der 33 Ten-Gottheiten (sanjuusan ten), dem Bezirk Tooriten (Traavastrimsa).

Gott des Reichtums, den er an gute Menschen verteilt. Beschützer der Kannon.

In China als Bewacher der oft rebellischen Nordregionen besonders verehrt. Der japanische Fürst (1530-1578) hielt sich für eine Inkarnation des Bishamonten.Uesugi Kenshin 上杉謙信
In Japan auch einer der sieben Glücksgötter. Dabei gewährt er die Gnade: Sofortige Zerstörung der sieben Übel und sofortige Gewährung der sieben Glückseligkeiten (shichinan kokumetsu shichifuku sokushoo).

Manchmal mit Mäusen zusammen abgebildet (Mäuse zerkauen die Bogensehnen der Feinde).
In gesonderter Halle verehrt zusammen mit Statue des Kichijooten als weiblicher Figur. (Kichijooten wahrscheinlich als Gattin oder Schwester des Bishamonten.)

Hohe Krone. Dreizack mit langem Stab oder dem Stab der Lehre in der rechten Hand; linke Hand mit der Pagode des Gesetzes hoch erhoben. Bei manchen Figuren, oft als Tamonten, werden diese Gegenstände gerade umgekehrt gehalten. Chinesische Rüstung mit Brust- und Beinpanzer. Auf dem Brustpanzer der Kopf eines wilden Meeresteufels, symbolisiert, daß Bishamonten früher wohl eine Meeresgottheit war.

Steht auf einem wilden Meeresteufel. Später wurde dieser Teufel auch "Amanojaku" genannt.
Eigentlich handelt es sich dabei um Kobolde (jaki), die nach der Theorie des Weltenberges Sumeru in der Welt unterhalb der vier Himmelskönige leben und auf Befehl mit ausziehen, um die Feinde des Buddhismus zu zerstören.

Zusammen mit Fudoo Myo- als Begleitfigur eines Nyorai oder Bosatsu.

Besondere Statuen:

Tobatsu Bishamonten 兜跋毘沙門天

Bewacht das Königreich Tobatsu im Westen. "Tobatsu" bedeutet möglicherweise Tibet (Toban), es bedeutet auch: einen wallenden Mantel tragen.
Wurde als Schutzgottheit der Burg-Städte besonders verehrt. In China in Anxi (Anseijoo) soll Tobatsu Bishamonten vor der belagerten Stadt erschienen sein und die Feinde vertrieben haben.

Trägt einen wallenden Mantel über der Rüstung und einen langen Stab mit drei Zacken in der rechten sowie eine Pagode in der linken Hand.
Steht auf den Dämonen Biranba, Niranba oder auf der Erdgottheit Jiten (Chiten). Diese Gottheiten ragen mit dem Oberkörper aus einem Felsensockel und tragen Bishamonten auf den hoch erhobenen Händen. Manchmal auch hohe Krone mit Vogelkopf.

© Gabi Greve
Buddhastatuen (Buddhastatues) Who is Who
Ein Wegweiser zur Ikonografie von japanischen Buddhastatuen


. Enkū 円空 Master Carver Enku (1632 - 1695) .

at temple Hoozenji 宝泉寺 Hosen-Ji. Gifu 関市. This temple has more Enku statues and is dedicated to Fudo Myo-O.
source : tabinoashiato.blogspot.jp

source : enkukobo.cocolog-nifty.com/blog
The wood is hinoki ヒノキ cedar.

CLICK for more photos !

Bishamon standing on a demon 邪鬼.
The wood is ichi-i 一位 yew tree.


. Legends about Bishamonten .

- #bishamonten -


News said...

Ancient Buddhist statue found carved from space rock

A thousand-year-old Buddhist statue taken from Tibet in 1938 by an SS team seeking the roots of Hitler's Aryan doctrine was carved from a meteorite, reported scientists. ...

The expedition led by Ernst Schaefer, a zoologist and ethnologist, found a 24-centimetre (10-inch)tall statue that came to known as the "Iron Man" because of the high content of iron in its rock.

Weighing 10.6 kilos (23.3 pounds), the statue which features the Buddhist god Vaisravana seated, with the palm of his right hand outstretched and pointing downwards, was brought to Germany where it remained till today.

Chemical analysis shows that the statue was carved came from a meteorite that the scientists say survived a long trip through the Solar System and the destructive friction with the atmosphere before colliding with Earth.

The rock was identified as a particularly rare meteorite called an ataxite, which has iron and high contents of nickel, according to the study published in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science

Gabi Greve said...

Photos of the statue :




Gabi Greve said...

Bishamonten Magaibutsu - 毘沙門天磨崖仏
from Okayama

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Ototen 乙天 Bishamonten - Wakaten 若天 Fudo Myo-O

at Mount Shoshazan, Hyogo, Himeji

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Fudo running after the Wheel of Law
(maybe inspired from a painting of the Shigisan Emaki.


- Fudo Myo-O -

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo 達谷窟毘沙門堂

Himemachi Fudo 姫待不動尊

Nr. 23 達谷西光寺 - 姫待不動尊 Himemachi Fuko
Seikooji 達谷西光寺 Takkoku Seiko-Ji

Kitazawa-16 Hiraizumi, Nishiiwai District

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Tono Jisha Meguri 遠野寺社巡り  temples and shrines in Tono, Iwate

第八百二十一話「毘沙門天神神社」- Bishamonten Jinja

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Shitoku Doji 指徳童子
and Fudo Myo-o

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Bishamonten and Fudo Myo-O

as a Jeans pattern

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Tamonin 照臨山 多聞院 Tamon-In
新宿区弁天町100 - 100 Bentenchō, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Nr. 31 on the pilgrimage
Gofunai 御府内八十八ヶ所霊場 88 Henro Temples in Edo
Go-Funai 88kasho
Gofunai Pilgrimage Junrei in the central area of Tokyo

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Fukuo Jinja 福王神社 Fukuo Shrine, Mie
The shrine is located up on a steep slope, the 天狗坂 Tengusaka. It was established more than 1200 years ago by 聖徳太子 Shotoku Taishi to venerate Bishamonten.
The main days of rituals are on days with a 3, where many people come to venerate.
During the time of 敏達天皇 Emperor Bitatsu Tenno (538 - 585), a statue carver named 安阿弥 Annami came from 百済 Kudara, Korea, and carved the statue of Bishamonten. Shotoku Taishi later placed it here to pray for the safety of the country and to protect shrine 伊勢神宮 Ise Jingu.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Bishamonten Zenkokuji Temple 毘沙門天 善國寺 moved there in 1791 and after that an entertainment district was formed, which led to regional development as Hanamachi (Geisha district).

The Yarai district of Edo

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Ta no Kami, Tanokami 田の神 God of the Fields
Shanichi Sama, Shajitsu Sama 社日様 God of the Shrine Day
Sakugami Sama 作神様 God of the Harvest
Miyagi 宮城県 .....
栗原市 Kurihara

毘沙門様 Bishamon Sama
Bishamon Sama is a greedy deity. If one borrows money it has to be given back in double.
He is also seen as Sakugami.
On the 13th day of the first lunar month, farmers place 20 soy beans into the hearth. If they all become black, it will be a good harvest this year.
If only half will get black, only half of the good harvest.
On the 15th day of the 6th lunar month, cucumbers are offered in the hope they will induce 豊作 a good harvest.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Edo Himonya Nio 碑文谷仁王
The Korean statue carver 安阿弥 Annami made the Nio Statues of the temple 妙光山法華寺 Myokozan Hokkeji in the old village of
Bushu, Ebara district, Himonya village 武州荏原郡碑文谷村.
In 1772 Annami became ill when he was about 25 years old and prayed for healing in the hall for many days. On the last day of his vow - indeed - his illness was healed.
The carver Annami 安阿弥

3 to explore

Gabi Greve said...

Statue of Bishamonten at
Myoorakuji 妙楽寺 Myoraku-Ji, Chiba

Gabi Greve said...

shinshi 神使 messenger of god, divine messenger
kami no o-tsukai 神のお使い / 神の使い

at Shigisan, it is the tora 虎 tiger.

Gabi Greve said...

法満山 Homanzan 一乗院 Ichijo-In Ibaraki
The main deity is Bishamonten, protector of the North.
This temple houses the most important Bishamonten of Japan.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Shigisan about a cold winter
The young owner of a wealthy shop had his fortune told by a diviner three years ago.
He was told he would die within three years of cold and hunger, but if he went to the Bishamon Deity at 信貴山 Mount Shigisan every year for three years, this fate would be turned and he could live a long life.
The young man went to Shigisan for two years, but on the third year there was such heavy snow! He told his servant to go up and get a palanquin.
When the servant returned, the young man was 凍死 frozen to death.

Gabi Greve said...


Gabi Greve said...

Aramachi no Bishamon 荒町の毘沙門
Miyagi 仙台市 Sendai city 若林区 Wakabayashi ward

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Nara 初瀬町 Hase town
raijin 雷神 the Kami of lightning
At 長谷寺 the Temple Hasedera near 瀧蔵権現 Ryuzo Gongen there is a statue of
毘沙門天 Bishamonten made by a celestial being.
When raijin 雷神 the Kami of lightning came down to destroy it,
the pagoda fell into the river and floated all the way to the rapids of 袖川 Sodekawa.
That is why the area is now named Hatsuse 泊瀬 Hase.
In my blog

Gabi Greve said...

Legends about Bishamonten