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Afro Buddha in Kyoto

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Goko Shii Amidabutsu 五劫思惟阿弥陀仏

What does Goko Shii Amidabutsu mean? 五劫思惟阿弥陀仏

アフロ大仏

The real name of “Afro Buddha” is “Goko Shii Amidabutsu.(五劫思惟阿弥陀仏)” It means that a Buddha meditates forever. We can find it in the grave yard of Konkai Komyoji temple in Kyoto.

What is Goko? 五劫思惟阿弥陀仏

“Goko” literary means a long period of time. “Go” is five and “ko” is an unit of time in Buddhism. Ko is used to indicate a long period of time. There is a story which tells us what Ko is:

Fill a castle with poppy seeds. The castle is 39,000 acre. Take one seed a 100 years. If we took the last seed, we would in the midst of Ko.

Ko is such a long time as this, we use it when we mean eternity. Its name bears 5 ko, nothing but eternity.

What is Shii? 五劫思惟阿弥陀仏

“Shii”(思惟)means “To think on something.” In this case, it would be better to translate it as “to maditate.” I’ll show you the reason later.

What is Amidabutsu? 五劫思惟阿弥陀仏

立体曼荼羅阿弥陀如来像

“Amidabutsu” means Amitabha, the Buddhist Deity. Amidabutsu is “Nyorai,” the enlightened Deity. The infinite light Sutra, one of the most important Sutra for Amidabutsu-believers., tells that: Amidabutsu used be Hozo Bosatsu. It made his fundamental vows to save people. Through ascetic training, it made them come true and became Amidabutsu about 10 Ko ago.

During the asceticism, it meditate and think over and over the ways to save people. It took so long time that it grows its hair like afro hair. Take a look at the photo above(It is a statue of Amidabtsu of 3D Mandala at Toji temple). It is usual hair style of Amidabutsu.

This is the reason why Shii should be translated as “to meditate.”

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About Afro Buddha アフロ大仏さん詳細解説

In Japan, we  have only 16 statues of Goko Shii Amidabutsu. Most of them are wooden satue but that of Konkai Komyoji is made of rock. It is a rare one build in Edo period(1603-1867).

Names of parts 各部の名称

アフロ大仏

First, let us learn the names of each part.

  1. Nikkei 肉髻
  2. Rahotsu 螺髪
  3. Byakugo 白毫
  4. Sando 三道
  5. Noue 衲衣
  6. Amida Johin 阿弥陀定印
  7. Kekka Fuza 結跏趺坐
  8. Rengeza 蓮華座

1.Nikke 肉髻

Amidabutsu belongs to Nyorai as incicated before. A hill on the head indicated with a red circle is Nikkei, the shape of head of Nyorai. It stands for the mercy of Amidabutsu.

2.Rahotsu 螺髪

アフロ大仏東大寺大仏

Rahotsu is hair style only for Nyorai. The word “Ra” means conch. Nyorai seems that it has conches on its head. Afro buddha meditated so long time that Rahotsu grew int afro hair.

3.Byakugo 白毫

Byakugo is something like a mole we find in the middle of forehead of Nyorai. “Byaku” means white hair. “Go” does thin hair. Byakugo is a long white hair and it make a mole. When Nyorai teaches Buddhism, it emits rays to light the whole world.

4.Sando 三道

アフロ大仏

The 3 wrinkles on the neck. They stand the way to the enlightenment: “Ken” (To see everything in the right way.), “Shu” (The training with Ken) and “Mugaku” (The state where a person learned every thing with Shu and Ken.)

5.Noue 衲衣

アフロ大仏

Noue is a garment for Nyorai. Noue is an outfit Gotama Siddhattha wore when he left his castle. Noue is very simple because Nyorai reached the enlightenment and has no need to dress up in beautiful clothes.

6.Amida Johin 阿弥陀定印

平等院阿弥陀如来像

Johin is a shape of hands. The Amidabutsu of Byodoin temple (the photo above) makes Amida Johin, a basic Johin to meditate. We can not see the shape of Afro buddha but I suspect its hands are in Amida Johin because it meditates to save people.

7.Kekka Fuza結跏趺坐

Kekka Fuza is a shape of legs when Gotama Siddhattha made when he meditate. The Amidabutsu of Byodoin crosses its legs in this way.

8.Rengeza 蓮華座

蓮華

The pedestal which Afro Buddha sits on represents lotus. In Buddhism, lotus stands for the mercy of Buddha.

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Where can we see Afro Buddha? アフロアクセス

We can see Afro Buddha at the red annotation on the map.

アフロ大仏へのアクセス

I’ll show you the way to it.

アフロ大仏へのアクセス

At 1. In front of the Mieido. Go straight to 2.

アフロ大仏へのアクセス

At 2. You can see 2 boards of Afro Buddha that lead you to the destination. Clime down the hill to a small pond.

アフロ大仏

Near the pond, you’ll find this. Zigzag indicates stair steps. The steps leads to a pagoda on a hill. The hill is graveyard. We find Afro Buddha near the entrance of it.

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It’s tough, to be a Buddha? アフロ大仏顔はめ看板

アフロ大仏顔はめ看板

七里ヶ浜親方
七里ヶ浜親方

The easiest way to be a Buddha.

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Souvenirs アフログッズ

  • Gosyuin-stamp book 2,000 yen
  • Afro Buddha samp 300 yen
  • Document holder 300 yen
  • Small statue of Afro Buddha  6,000 yen
  • Post card 100 yen
  • Kirie-picture 1,500 yen
  • Afro Buddha candy 350 yen

 

アフロ大仏こんぺいとう

Afro candy is called Afro Konpeito. Konpeito is a Japanese traditional candy looks like Rahotsu.

アフロ大仏ステッカー

This is a sticker of Afro Buddha.(Not for sale)

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Access to Konkai Komyoji temple 金戒光明寺基本情報

  • Name:Shiunzan Konkai Komyoji 紫雲山金戒光明寺
  • De facto name:Kurodani san 黒谷さん
  • 住所: 121 Kurodani-cho, Sakyo ward, Kyoto city 〒606-8331
  • Phone:075-771-2201
  • FAX:075-771-0836
  • Website  Konkai Komyoj offcial (English)
  • Time required 1 hour~
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How to get to Konkai Komyoji? 金戒光明寺へのアクセス

About 10 minutes walk from Okazaki Jinja mae bus stop. Take Kyoto city bus no.32, 93, 203, and 204



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