Kurikara, the Sword of Fudo Myo-o


Kurikara, kulika 倶利伽羅 the Sword of Fudo Myo-o

Kurikara Fudo, Kurikara Fudoo

source : 仏像ワールド - facebook

My MAIN Story is here:

The Buddhist Sword of Wisdom 知剣 chiken  
. The Wisdom King Fudo Myoo-o and
the Sword Kurikara

For the other swords, see below!

With the sword of wisdom, Fudo cuts away the

sandoku 三毒 "three poisons" . three passions
三不善根 - skt: akuśala-mūla

01 貧/欲しい、惜しいの心 - desire, passion, greed
ton (lobha) represented by a rooster

02 瞋/怒りや恨み - anger, aggression, hatred
shin (dosa) represented by a snake 蛇 鶏

03 痴/正しいことが判断できない)
- confusion, bewilderment, delusion
chi (moha) represented by a pig or wild boar 豚

- quote
The three poisons (Sanskrit: triviṣa; Tibetan: dug gsum) or the three unwholesome roots (Sanskrit: akuśala-mūla; Pāli: akusala-mūla), in Buddhism, refer to the three root kleshas of ignorance, attachment, and aversion. These three poisons are considered to be the cause of suffering (Sanskrit: dukkha).

In the Buddhist teachings, the three poisons (of ignorance, attachment, and aversion) are the primary causes that keep sentient beings trapped in samsara. As shown in the wheel of life (Sanskrit: bhavacakra), the three poisons lead to the creation of karma, which leads to rebirth in the six realms of samsara.
Of these three, ignorance is the root poison.
From ignorance, attachment and aversion arise.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

"The Sword symbolizes more
than the simple protection of the doctrine.
It is the emblem of the victory
that knowledge gains over error."
source : quotes about Fudo

. sandoku goyoku 三毒五欲 the three poisons and five passions .
The five desires (goyoku), the five obstructions
I. They are desires for
① property, ② sexual love, ③ eating and drinking, ④ fame, and ⑤ sleep.
II. Five sense - objects:
① form, ② sound, ③ smell, ④ taste, ⑤ the tangible.
These are so called because they make desires arise in humans.
- source : nichiren-shu.org -


The unmovable Fudoo (Acala Vidyaaraaja) is one of the Wisdom Kings (Myoo-oo). He is usually depicted in a very wrathful way. He is a typical Japanese deity, introduced by Kobo Daishi about 806 and soon became a special protector of the Mountain Ascetics (yamabushi). An impressive waterfall is considered the personification of Fudoo, for example the Great Waterfall at Nachi, which we met in the story about
. Kumano 熊野

Fudoo is portrayed holding a two-edged sword with a three-pronged hilt in his right hand and a coiled rope in his left hand. With this sword of wisdom, Fudoo cuts through deluded and ignorant minds and with the rope he binds those who are ruled by their violent passions and emotions.

CLICK for more photos
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Kurikara Fudo is another personification of this deity, this time in the form of a Dragon-Sword. The Dargon King Kurikara (Sanskrit: Kulikaa Nagaraajaa) is said to have a golden body color and is sometimes depicted with one or two horns on his head. Legend has it that Fudoo had to fight the representative of a different religion. He changed himself into a flaming sword but the opponent did the same and the fighting went on without a winner. Now Fudoo changed himself into the Dragon Kurikara, wound himself around the opposing sword and started eating it from the top. This episode gave rise to the iconographic rendering as we know it now.

The dragon used to be a vasall or symbol of the deity, but in this unique case the symbol and the deity came to be honored as the same thing. Especially during the Edo period where the sword was a symbol of the vasall's loyalty to his lord, the statues and steles of Kurikara Fudo were produced in greater numbers.


The kulika Dragon King symbolises the triple poison - greed, anger and folly.


source : facebook


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Kurikara 倶利迦羅
Also known as Kurika 矩里迦, a transliteration of Sanskrit Kulika, the name of a dragon-king *ryuu 龍 mentioned in Indian legends.
In this connection he is also known as Kurikara Ryuu 倶利迦羅龍 (Dragon Kurikara), sometimes with the addition of ou 王, to read Dragon king Kurikara. Kurikara could also be an abbreviated transliteration of Kulika raja (King Kulika), or of Kulika-nagaraja (Dragon king Kulika).

In Esoteric Buddhism mikkyou 密教 he is regarded as a manifestation of *Fudou Myouou 不動明王 and is also known as Kurikara Fudou 倶利迦羅不動 or Kurikara Myouou 倶利迦羅明王. He assumes the form of a flame-wreathed snake or dragon coiled around an upright sword, with his open mouth about to swallow the tip of the weapon, which is called the Kurikara sword, kurikaraken 倶利迦羅剣.

According to the KURIKARA RYUUOU DARANIKYOU 倶利迦羅龍王陀羅尼経 (Kurikara Ryu-O Darani Kyo), this manifestation of Fudou had its origins in a contest between Fudou and a non-Buddhist heretic in the course of which Fudou transformed himself first into a sword and then into the dragon Kurikara and threatened to devour the sword into which the heretic had changed himself.

Alternatively the dragon and sword are sometimes said to represent the noose and sword held by Fudou and images of Kurikara may be used as a substitute for Fudou as for example on the lid of a lacquered sutra box *kyoubako 経箱 from the Heian period belonging to Taimadera 当麻寺 in Nara, where he is flanked by Fudou's two attendants *Kongara douji 矜羯羅童子 and *Seitaka douji 制た迦童子.

Early statuary representations are rare: that kept at Ryuukouin 龍光院 Mt. Kouya 高野 (Koyasan)  in Wakayama prefecture, inside a small shrine *zushi 厨子 is thought to date from the Kamakura period, although temple tradition holds that the sword (42.2cm) was brought back to Japan by *Kukai 空海 (774-835).
The largest completely wooden image (183.2cm), dating from the late Heian period, is kept at Kotakeji 小武寺 in Ooita prefecture.
The Kurikara pattern, kurikara-mon 倶利迦羅紋 is also a popular motif in tattoos irezumi 入墨.
- source : JAANUS

source : www.diabloart.jp


source : facebook

at the Chiba Art Museum 千葉市美術館


. Fudo with white eyes , Mejiro Fudo 目白不動 Tokyo
White Fudo, Shiro-Fudo 白不動 .


Stone carving

Erected in 1666. Compounds of the White Fudo, Edo.

© 岩倉櫻


At Kawaguchi Village, Taki no Zawa

This Sword Fudo watches over a watering place in a gourge of a mountain pass near Hachioji, Tokyo. There are many poisonous snakes in this area and many people died of their bites. Since the statue was erected in around 1770, Fudo protects the humans. The present statue dates from the Meiji period.
The area is also called Fudo Valley, Fudo Yatsu 不動谷津.
There is also an old mountain cherry tree close by, said to be more than a few hundred years old, with a diameter of about three meters.

© 川口の自然を守る会 .


Inunakisan, Inunaki san 犬鳴山

This statue is said to have been made by En no Gyoja himself 役行者の自作.


Kobo Daishi came to this region in the footsteps of En no Gyoja, carved a statue of the Great Fudo and performed sacred rites to honor this statue.
The deity would ward off evil influence and protect the pilgrim from dangers.


犬鳴山本尊 大龍不動明王

The fire ceremony

大阪府泉 佐野市大木8
source : www.inunakisan.com

Situated in Izumisano City, Mt. Inunaki is known as the location of a hot spring resort, as well as Shippo-ryuji Temple, headquarters of the Inunaki school of Shugendo, which is one of the oldest Shugendo temples founded by En-no-gyoja about 1,300 years ago.

In the precincts of the temple 28 pilgrim spots are recognized, among which some are at main Shugendo training halls; some are near waterfalls; some at rocks; some at smaller Shugendo halls; and others at small shrines, so that many visitors can experience making a pilgrimage.

Also called “Nyonin Omine” (the alternative to Mt. Omine for women), Mt. Inunaki is famous as a Shugendo training place where women are allowed to participate in Shugendo training although they are forbidden to enter Mt. Omine, another famous Shugendo training spot.

The name “Inunaki” (dog barking) comes from the legend that when a hunter was about to be attacked by a giant snail in the mountains in the era of Emperor Uda (887 to 897), his dog barked furiously and sacrificed himself to save his master’s life. On the way to Shippo-ryuji Temple, you can see tombs of fine and faithful dogs.

The hot spring resort located along a stream at the foot of Mt. Inunaki has an atmosphere of a quiet mountain village, with various seasonal attractions, including mountain cherry blossoms in spring, fireflies and kajika frogs in summer (“kajika” means river deer in Japanese; kajika frogs croaking sounds like deer calling), autumn leaves in autumn and fluttering snowflakes in winter.
source : www.osaka-info.jp


. Arao Fudo-In 荒尾不動院 倶利伽羅不動 Kurikara Fudo .


Shikoku Henro temple
- source : photo by Oliver -


Ishikawa prefecture, Kurikara Fudo-Ji Temple
128 Takenohashi, Tsubata, Kahoku District, Ishikawa


Modern Caraving of Kurikara Fudo

総柘植 倶利伽羅不動龍剣 
© 昇龍堂 shouryu.com


Kurikara Pass 倶利伽羅峠

The temple Kurikara Fudo-son is located near Kurikara Pass, a place famous for the battle between the Heike Clan and Saso Yoshinaka during the 2nd year of the Eiju period (1183). The statue of Fudo Myo-O is said to be carved by Kobo Daishi.
Matsuo Basho passed here on his famous walk to the small roads in the North.

CLICK for more photos

Kurikara ga tani 倶利伽羅谷 
is a valley located on the border between the provinces of Kaga and Etchu and is the valley below Kurikara toge Pass.
This is the site where in 1184 Kiso no Yoshinaka led his forces against the great Taira army and drove them back in defeat. Yoshinaka won a night battle by tying flaming torches to the horns of cattle and stampeding them through the Taira lines in front of his advancing army.
Curiously Basho makes no mention of this, especially since the Taira army was led by Koremori.

The battle of Kurikara, also known as the battle of Tonamiyama (砺波山), was a crucial battle of Japan's Genpei War; in this battle the tide of the war turned in the favor of the Minamoto clan.

Minamoto no Yoshinaka, commander of a contingent of warriors from Shinano province, raided Taira lands several years earlier, before his raids, and the war itself, were put on hold on account of two years of famine. As conditions improved in 1183, the Taira sought retribution against Yoshinaka. Taira no Koremori, son of Taira no Shigemori and grandson of the late Taira no Kiyomori, took charge of this operation, backed by Michimori, Tadanori, Tomonori, Tsunemasa and Kiyofusa.

Their forces severely reduced by battle and famine, the Taira sought to recruit warriors from the surrounding lands, and did so at the risk of further famine, since many of these warriors were farmers leaving their farms. Though some chronicles list their numbers as exceeding 100,000, this is a highly unlikely number, and other, more reliable sources have estimated it as being closer to 40,000.

Minamoto no Yoritomo, Yoshinaka's cousin, moved to fight him for dominance of the clan in March 1183, but was convinced to stand down and withdraw by Yoshinaka, who argued that they should be united against the Taira. To ensure his intentions, Yoshinaka also sent his son, Yoshitaka, to Kamakura as a hostage. Shortly afterwards, Yoshinaka received news of Koremori's army, and moved to engage him, along with his uncle Minamoto no Yukiie and so-called shitennō, his four most loyal retainers: Imai Kanehira, Higuchi Kanemitsu, Tate Chikatada, Nenoi Yukichika.
......................................................... snip

Meanhwhile, Yoshinaka's armies moved into position, and as the sun set, the Taira turned to find behind them a Minamoto detachment, holding far more flags than a single detachment should merit, again giving the illusion of greater numbers. Yoshinaka's central force, having gathered a herd of oxen, now released them down the pass, directly into the Taira army, with lit torches tied to their horns. Many of the Taira warriors charged into the herd, while many others were simply knocked clean off the path, to their deaths in the rocky crags far below. Many more tried to retreat, but became lost in the various paths, meeting their deaths at the hands of Minamoto warriors lying in wait for them, or falling into various gorges and the like.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Oku no Hosomichi ... 2007
Matsuo Basho and NHK

Gabi Greve


Read more about the Waterfalls connected with Fudo :

Waterfalls and Fudo Myo-o 不動滝

O-Fudo-Sama in Japan: Waterfall Ascetism (taki shugyoo)


Afuri Jinja, Oyama 大山の阿夫利神社

A statue of Kurikara-ryu-o, or Kulika in Skt.Kurikara-ryu-o is believed to be an incarnation of Fudo-myo-o. Ryu-o is the king of dragon, and here the statue shows a dragon in a blaze is trying to swallow a sword.

. Oyama no Fudo 大山の不動様.


Most statues of Fudo Myo-O have him carry a special sword

Most statues of Fudo Myo-O have him carry a normal sword

gooma ken, gooma no ken 降魔の剣 goma sword of Fudo Myo-O
subjugating the demons, demon-quelling sword
gooma riken 降魔利剣 demon-subjugating sharp sword
fudoo ken 不動剣 sword of Fudo
eken, e-ken sword of wisdom


riken 利剣 the double edged sword of Sapience (or Hôken)
sacred sword

sanko ken 三鈷剣, sanko no ken 三鈷の剣
sword with a three-pronged vajra
Sankoji 三鈷寺 Sanko-Ji - Kyoto
"temple of the three-pronged vajra.

source : www.oparaq.com


- quote
Gravures ou Horimono sur katana
L'épée, ou Ken, représentait la divinité Fudo Myoo

LOOK at more photos here
- source : www.katananosekai.net


- quote
Fudo's Sword

"On an afternoon in November, 1963,1 went to the Kurama temple with the intention of walking over the top of the mountain and down the other side to Kibune," chronicles British professor of Japan studies Carmen Blacker in The Catalpa Bow. "A little way down from the summit I heard from among the trees a strong hard voice reciting what sounded like mantras. I left the path and followed the voice until, in a clearing in the forest, I saw an enormous cryptomeria tree, its huge trunk girdled about with the belt of straw rope, and before it, with her back to me, a woman seated on the ground reciting. The hard base voice continued for several minutes, through a number of invocations, while the woman sat perfectly motionless with a long rosary in her hands.

Venturing to approach her, I asked if there were still a good many tengu (half-bird, half-hawk spirit) to be found on the mountain. She turned to face me, a brown face peculiarly like an old bird, with an expression fierce yet remote and a pair of extraordinarily glittering eyes, brightly sparkling like steel. 'If you do gyo [austerities] like me you can see them,' she replied abruptly. I asked again if the kami (god) in the great tree was very strong. 'Ask it. The tree is more than a thousand years,' she replied, and without another word, and without looking behind her, she plunged rapidly down the mountainside until she disappeared among the dark green trees and yellow leaves."

This wilderness mystic - a modern day miko, Shinto priestess - peacefully haunting the sacred hill valleys of Japan is not different from the revered Hindu shamans of Nepal or India. Both can ply the palpable pure energy that interconnects all form - nagare in Shinto texts and Satchidananda in Sanskrit. Both use it to heal. The Indian shaman and Japanese yamabushi mountain ascetic both perceive the many planes that invisibly interpenetrate ours. The miko plucks a koto lute; the Hindu shaman claps a bell - by sound, both alert those who live beyond. Each know how the magic of fire, mantra and meditation further stretches open the veils between these worlds for communication with the beings that reside there - kami in Japanese and devas in Sanskrit. Both understand how a mountain - or lakes, trees or rocks - can be the home of celestials. Hindus trekking along the pilgrimage pathways of Japan would naively marvel at all the "Siva lingams." Oval boulders girdled with straw bands speckle sacred hilltops, drawing the pilgrim to halt and worship. Japanese refer to the physical portal to the deity's consciousness yorishiro, "vessel" - murthi in Sanskrit.

Fudo Myoo: A Japanese Siva Reflection
Overwhelmingly a one nerve current cavernously flows beneath the Orient landmass, welling up at different points and periods as yogis - Indian, Chinese, Japanese - plumbed the uniquely Asian akasha of consciousness. Cruder overland intercourse and dispersion of ideas by trade and travel mirrored the subtler mind routes. Today religious similarities, sympathies and sensibilities wed snow-capped Fuji to icy Kailas in an unearthly way. Examples abound. Esoteric Tendai Buddhists believe Maheshwara (Siva) taught them Yorigito, mediumship and at the secluded mountainside temple of Ryosanji, in Okayama, an ichiko, priest, wears large white swastikas, the ancient Hindu symbol, embroidered on front and back of his indigo gown.

The Shiva-like Japanese Deity Fudo Myoo re-echoes this pan-Asian interlacing. Like Shiva, Fudo Myoo specially befriends the recluse, mystic and mountain hermit, granting boons and powers. Fudo Myoo, explains Dr. Carmen Blacker, is the "central and paramount figure in the group of divinites known as the Godai Myoo or Five Great Bright Kings, who in esoteric Buddhism stand as emanations, or modes of activity, of the Buddha. His long hair hangs in a coil over his left shoulder." Like Siva Nataraja, He is always ringed with fire. The ichiko or Japanese shaman sees Fudomyoo as his own most interior Self and meditates on this essential oneness just as the Saivite tantric seeks to merge with Shiva-ness within. "Fudo is frequently represented by his attribute, an erect sword," continues Dr. Blacker, "twined about by the dragon Kurikara," not unlike Shiva entwined by a serpent and often represented by his trident alone. "The halo of flames which surrounds Fudo is the same fire which the ascetic must kindle in himself. Here again is surely a reminder of the kundalini snake which as it rises up the spine of the yogi confers upon him heat and transformed sexual energy. As it writhes spirally upwards round Fudo's erect sword, we see the shakti or feminine energizing force in its traditional serpent aspect. Once again we meet with this mysterious coincidence of images, so far unexplained, between India and Japan."
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.
- source : www.hinduismtoday.com

. yorigitoo 憑祈祷 / 憑り祈祷 exorcistic 祈祷 kito rituals .


Schwert-Fudoo (Kurikara Fudoo)

Zweischneidiges Schwert, von einem Drachen umwickelt, der die Schwertspitze im Maul hält. Der Drachenkönig Kurika (Sanksrit: Kulikah) hat eine goldene Körperfarbe. Manchmal mit einem Horn auf dem Kopf dargestellt. Von einem flammenden Nimbus umgeben.

Nach einer Überlieferung kam es einmal zu einem Wettkampf zwischen Fudoo Myoooo und dem Vertreter einer anderen Religion. Dabei verwandelte sich Fudoo in ein flammendes Schwert, aber der Gegner tat dies ebenfalls und sie fochten ohne Ergebnis. Nun verwandelte Fudoo sich in den Drachen Kurika, umwand das Schwert des Feindes und begann, es von der Spitze her zu verschlingen. Nach dieser Geschichte entstand das Kurikara-Schwert.

Drache zunächst als Bote bzw. Symbol des Fudô und später als die Gottheit selbst verehrt. Einziges Beispiel, bei dem Symbol und Gottheit getrennt und doch als Gleichwertig verehrt werden. Für die Samurai der Edo-Zeit war das Schwert ein ganz besonderer Gegenstand der Vasallentreue; in dieser Zeit breitete sich der Kurikara Fudoo besonders aus.

Aus Holz, Bronze, Eisen oder Stein. Oft entweder in der Myôô-Halle oder davor aufgestellt.

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


Statue with Fudo holding his Kurikara sword

神代楠一木造 made from one piece of very old kusunoki 楠 camphor

- source : www.m-butsuzou.com - Mitooka -

. 水戸岡伯翠 Mitooka Hakusui .
Mitooka 水戸岡仏像彫刻研究所
Buddha Statues Store and Research


. Nanzoo-In 南蔵院 Nanzo-In, Nanzoin .
Fukuoka, Kyushu

Statue of Fudo Myo-O with a Dragon face !


- reference source : facebook -

. 犬鳴山 Inukaisan  七宝瀧寺 Shipporyu-Ji .


The Gods of War:
Sacred Imagery and the Decoration of Arms and Armor

By Donald J. LaRocca
the triple-pronged vajra as the hild of the sacred sword

look at a photo here :
- source : books.google.co.jp


. Swords with Dragon decorations .

- - - - #kurikara -


Gabi Greve said...

A great page about DRAGONS
by Mark Schumacher



Gabi Greve said...

Hi, I'm Tang for Singapore, just wish to get some help from you, 2 year ago, there's an showcase on Buddha tooth & stone statue from around the world on Buddha, I've saw a statue that was so "Real" that it deeply implant my memory, the statue I've saw is Kurikara-ryu-o statue similiar to the photo taken on
Oyama Afuri Jinja

Because I liked Dragon so much and the statue was really a fantastic artwork on the dragon trying to swallow a sword, too bad showcase don't allow us to take picture. But I really like it, try to serach in the internet but there's not much photo on Kurikara-ryu-o statue until I saw your webpage.

I have an request to made and hope you can help me, I wish to have Kurikara-ryu-o statue photo taken with close up detail on Front, Left-Side & Right-Side and Back-side.
As I'm an hobbyist on 3D model, I wish to create an 3D model on Kurikara-ryu-o statue as shown on the attach picture.

I hope you can help me on this, thanks!!



Dear Tang san,
I live too far away from Afuri Jinja to make more photos.
Maybe a member from the Tokyo area can help you?


Tang Chee Ming said...


Thanks for the reply, but how do I get a member from Tokyo to help as I'm don't know any of the member??

Can you guide me on this??


Anonymous said...



Gabi Greve said...



Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kurikara 倶利伽羅 the Sword of Fudo Myo-o

With the sword of wisdom, Fudo cuts away the

sandoku 三毒 "three poisons" . three passions
三不善根 - skt: akuśala-mūla

01 貧/欲しい、惜しいの心 - desire, passion, greed
ton (lobha) represented by a rooster

02 瞋/怒りや恨み - anger, aggression, hatred
shin (dosa) represented by a snake 蛇 鶏

03 痴/正しいことが判断できない)
- confusion, bewilderment, delusion
chi (moha) represented by a pig or wild boar 豚

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Dragon 竜 ryuu 龍 and Fudo Myo-O


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kurikara Fudo 倶利伽羅不動
Oozawa Fudoo Doo 大沢不動堂 Ozawa Fudo Hall
Ōsawa Ayaorichō Kamiayaori, Tōno-shi

Tono, Iwate

Tono Fudo Monogatari 遠野不動明王物語

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

kurikara as helmet crest decoration

kabuto 兜 / 冑 / かぶと helmet
and Fudo Myo-O 不動明王

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

- amulets -
shuushoku 就職お守り amulet to find a new job
shuukatsu 就活 to look for a new job
The Sword of Wisdom of Fudo Myo-o 深川不動堂の不動智剣
. Fukagawa Fudo Do 深川不動堂 Tokyo .

Gabi Greve said...

The most recent 25 of the 32 Kings of Shambhala are known as Kulika (or Kalki; Tib. Rigden) Kings. Kulika means "Holder of the Castes" or "Wisdom Holders." The Kalika King is said to reside on a "lion throne" in Kalapa, the capital city of the Kingdom. They are holders of the Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, passed down from the original seven Dharmarajas of Shambhala