En no Gyoja

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En-no-Gyôja 役行者 (Jimpen Dai-Bosatsu)
The Founder of Shugendo

En no Ozuno 役小角 "En with the small horn"

quote from

All yamabushi regard En-no-gyôja as the founder and as their spiritual ancestor. He was an ascetic-hermit who lived in the 7th century and got along with the bouddhic magic, and others...

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This man was called En-No-Ozuno of his true name which means "En (delivery: Japanese èn) "the small horned one" because he was born with a small horn on his forehead. "Devils" was a derogatory nickname the Japanese of the era gave Korean immigrants, and we know now that the Kamo family (En’s family) was of Korean descent. He was also known as En-No-Ubasoku (Upayaka En), by lay practitioners, but he is most commonly known as En the Ascetic (En-No-gyôja).

Emperor Kokaku was so impressed with his practices that he gave him the posthumous name of Jimpen Dai-bôsatsu (Great Bodhisattva of Divine Change). The first document which speaks about him is "Shoku Nihongi" and the book Nihon Ryoki (which was written between 810 and 824, that is to say forty years afterwards), which are the first Japanese books with Konjaku monogatari: "En-No Ozunu lived in the Katsuragi mountains (close to the town of Wakayama, near to the current Osaka) where he converted demons and communed with a Shinto god, practised the asceticism in the Ominé mountains; He could cling to a cloud with 5 colors and fly through the air. He employed the demon spirits to build a bridge which would connect the Katsuragi mountains to that of Kimpusen, a distance several hundreds of kilometers.

He was exiled on the peninsula of Izu, following problems with his cousin and disciple who was jealous of him. The emperor tried to execute him but the blade of the axe broke each time they tried to behead him. It is said that every night, he left his prison and flew away to practise ascetics at the top of the Mount Fuji. He was released thereafter.

It is also written more particularly in Nihon Ryoki, in chapter 28: En-No-Ubasoku came from the Kamo family of the village of Chihara (West of current Nara) in the district of Katsuragi of the plain of Yamato. From birth he was omniscient; and he revered the 3 Buddhist jewels (unusual at the time for a family of that closely followed Shinto beliefs like Kamo and Kusakabe).

He practised the magic sutra of the Queen of the Peacocks" (Kujaku-Myô-kyô). Becoming a spirit himself (according to the taoists), he practised the Buddhist doctrines and every night he clung to a cloud with 5 colors, then flew in space in company of the hosts of the realm of the spirits; diverted himself in the gardens of Eternal Life; slept in the floors of Zuigai; He breathed the air which nourished him fully. As he was 40 years old he lived a cave (the cave of Shô), dressed in linens and bamboo shoots, bathed in the natural sources of water (made taki shugyo), washing away there the stains of the world of desire. He practised the sutra of Kujaku and showed a marvellous capacity. He continued to control the demon spirits, obliging them to work for him for the construction of a gigantic bridge.

With all the data collected from different sources over several centuries, one ends up establishing a biography which has been pieced together little by little. The following has been discovered : the name of his father, his mother, 5 disciples including 2 demons, the transmission of the Secret Law (Mippo) by the Master Nagarjuna in the cave of the Mt. Minô. The traditions of the schools of shugen do not agree as on his end. Some say that he flew away into the sky over Mt. Tenjo-gatake. Others say he disappeared on the sea and that was only re-examined (in Korea) after several centuries, following an official voyage of the monk Dôkô of the Kimpusenji temple of the village of Yoshino.

Over the two centuries following his disappearance a growing number of individuals in Japan imitated his example: The monks Shôbô and Zôyô, as well as the itinerant yamabushi (as Jitsukaga at the time Meiji) continued to take him as a model. On January 25, 1799, the Emperor Kokaku decreed that he receive the posthumous title of Jimpen Dai Bosatsu! This document is always visible within the Shogoin temple in Kyoto.

Curtesy of Shugendo

Read more about
The God of Shugendo: Zaô-gongen (the Avatar Zaô)

The Pantheon of Shugendô Particularly the worship of the Buddha Fudou-Myô

... /shugendo/images/Fudo-myo.jpg

Doctrines of Shugendô

... /shugendo/images/freeclimb.jpg

This is a great resource to learn more about Shugendoo.
.. Shugendo


. the Demons Zenki 前鬼 and Goki 後鬼 .
- Introduction -

the husband Zenki 前鬼 and his wife Goki 後鬼。

These demons promised En no Gyoja, a Shugendo priest at Mount Ominesan in Nara, to protect the pilgrims of the area. They had five children, whose families in the x-th generation up to this day have five mountain huts where the pilgrims can rest during their walk from Oomine to Kumano.
The family business is going on for more than 1300 years now. Gokijo 後鬼助 san, in the 61 generation, lives in Osaka now and comes back every weekend and holidays to take care of the pilgrims.
There are now many legends about these two and En no Gyoja.
Enjoy my blog!

source : blogs.yahoo.co.jp/teravist


En no Gyooja (E no Ozunu)
"Der Asket En".

Wandernder Priester, der erstmals im Shoku Nihongi (797) erwähnt wird. Gründer bzw. Ahnfigur der Bergpilger des Shugendoo (Yamabushi). Prototyp eines Magiers.

Um 634 geboren; seit dem 32. Lebensjahr übte er sich mehr als 30 Jahre in esoterischem Buddhismus auf dem Berg Katsuragi, bis er übernatürliche Kräfte erwarb. Er bestieg zum ersten Mal die heiligen Berge Kinpusan (dort erschien ihm die Gottheit Zao Gongen) und Oomine und gilt daher als der Gründer der Bergpilger-Tradition in West-Japan.
699 wurde er nach Izu ins Exil geschickt, aber zwei Jahre später wieder begnadigt. Über die letzten Jahre seines Lebens ist nichts bekannt.

Ausgemergelte Gestalt. Geht auf hohen Holzsandalen (geta), begleitet von zwei Dämonen. Mit einem Vogelgewand um die Schultern. Chinesischer Fächer oder Pilgerstab in einer Hand.

.Buddhastatuen ... Who is Who   

Ein Wegweiser zur Ikonografie
von japanischen Buddhastatuen

Gabi Greve, 1994


source : facebook

carved by 慶俊 Monk Gyoshun
ca. 78 cm high


En no Gyooja and Shugendo … An Essay

WASHOKU : Maple leaves tempura (momiji tenpura)

もみじ天ぷら/ 紅葉の天ぷら
With their origin related to En no Gyoja !
Minoyama Ryuuan-Ji, Osaka 箕面山瀧安寺

Shugendo The Way of the Mountain Ascets, Yamabushi

Zao Gongen 蔵王権現


. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .

- reference : nichibun yokai database 妖怪データベース -
34 役行者 / 15 小角 / 7 役小角
The legends related to Zenki and Goki have been explored in their own entry.


. Master Carver Enku 円空 .

source : shigeru.kommy.com/enkuu21

大和郡山松尾寺 Matsuo-Ji
奈良県大和郡山市松尾山 - Yamato District, Nara


- #ennogyoja -


Gabi Greve - Washoku said...

gyooja mochi 行者餅 Mochi for Yamabushi mountain priests
in honor of En no Gyoja


Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

natsuyama ni ashida o ogamau kadode kana

n the summer mountains
praying before the clogs:
setting off
Tr. Barnhill

At Kurobane, Shugen Koomyooji 修験光明寺跡
Oku no Hosomichi

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Venerated at

Taikooji 行者山太光寺 Taiko-Ji

Gabi Greve said...

Daibosatsu legends 大菩薩 伝説 Dai-Bosatsu
八幡大菩薩 Hachiman Daibosatsu

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

yugen gongen, yu no minamoto Gongen 湯源権現 The Deity to protect the Hot Water Well
at 田沢温泉 Tazawa Onsen , Nagano

Once upon a time, this deity appeared in the dream of the ascet En no Gyoja and asked him to built a hot spring in Tazawa. After that he build the small shrine for the deity as protector of the Hot Spring 湯源権現社.
This shrine dates back to the time of 持統天皇 Emperor Jito Tenno (645 - 702).

Gabi Greve said...

Chiba 千葉県 ............................
At the temple Yoorooji 養老寺 Yoro-Ji thre is a special spring, the 独鈷水 Tokkozui, which never dries out, even in the worst drought.
Once En no Gyoja came to this area on this way from 大島 Oshima and hit the ground with his magic 独鈷 Tokko.

Gabi Greve said...

Nara 奈良県 .....御所市 Gose
When En no Gyoja practised austerities at 葛城山 Mount Katsuragisan at age 17, he was tempted by a beautiful woman. When he hit her with his 独鈷杵 (とこしょ) Tokosho the vanished, leaving behind a bad smell. When he followed the smell in a South-Western direction, he came to a pond and saw her turn into a 大蛇 large serpent. When he tried to fight with her, The Deity of Kamo Ducks 鴨の神 came to his help and drove her away. So this area is now called
追付の森 Oitsuki no Mori and the deity venerated there is
Oitsuki Daimyoojin 追付大明神 Oitsuki Daimyoji.
Shrine 追着神社 Oitsuki Jinja


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Tengu, sugi 天狗と杉と伝説 Legends about Tengu and Cedar trees
En no Gyoja and Unpen Shonin

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kootenboo 葛城高天坊 - Katsuragi Kotenbo
He is one of the
. 四十八天狗 48 important Tengu of Japan .
He is venerated as 天狗魔王尊 Tengu Mao Son at mount Tengudake.
He is the boss of the 畿内七天狗 seven Tengu of the Kinai districts around Kyoto.
. 護法魔王尊 Gohoo Maoo Son .
at Mount Kurama 鞍馬山.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

光松山 Koshozan 威盛院 Ijo-In 放生寺 Hojo-Ji
新宿区西早稲田2-1-14 / 2 Chome-1-14 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku ward
The temple has a special hall with an image of
放生寺神変大菩薩堂 Jinhen Daibosatsu Hall (Jimpen Daibosatsu)

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

..... Nara 奈良県

. the Demons Zenki 前鬼 and Goki 後鬼 .
the husband Zenki 前鬼 and his wife Goki 後鬼, servants of En-no-Gyôja 役行者 En no Gyoja.
They take part in oni no gyooretsu 鬼の行列 a Demon parade during the festival in honor of En no Gyoja.
Apart from Zenki and Goki, many red and blue demons march along on August 3rd.
赤鬼 Aka-Oni and 青鬼 Ao-Oni demons

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legend from Kochi
幡多郡 Hata district 大月町 Otsuki

At the slope ヒロイアゲの坂 Hiroiage no Saka on the mountain path up to the shrine 月山神社 Tsukiyama Jinja a bald priest came out and asked for a bout of Sumo wrestling. The priest was very strong and about to win, when the villager bit him in the shoulder. Suddenly the mountain made a huge sound and the priest changed in Shiba Tengu.
During the 白鳳時代 Hakuho period (645 - 710) 役の行者(役小角) En no Gyoja found a sacred rock in the form of a mikkazuki 三日月 new moon and prayed there.
The rock is dedicated to the Shinto deity Uganomitama 倉稲魂命 Ukano Mitama.
Later 空海 弘法大師 Kukai Kobo Daishi passed here and prayed there for 23 days and nights.
In the Meiji period, the shrine was made into a temple, named 守月山月光院南照寺, with 勢至菩薩 Seishi Bosatsu as the Buddhist deity.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Nihon no sennin 日本の仙人 Japanese Immortals and Hermits
He is listed as Nr. 05.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend about Hanya Shingyo Heart Sutra
shoojinbutsu 生身仏 a living Buddha
When En no Gyoja was still practising austerities, he climbed 金峰山 Mount Kinpusen in Yoshino and hoped to find a honzon 本尊 Main Deity.
He recited the Heart Sutra for 17 days, when 地蔵菩薩 Jizo Bosatsu showed up. Jizo is a Bosatsu with a most merciful gentle face, but En no Gyoja thought that was not what he needed to bring peace to the world and threw the statue down the valley to the West. This Jizo flew all the way to 大山 Mount Daisen in Tottori and became the honzon 本尊 main statue there.

Gabi Greve said...

Founder of Ryujin Onsen 龍神温泉 in Wakayama
Ryujin Kaido 龍神街道 Ryujin Highway of the "Dragon God"

Gabi Greve said...

Statue of En no Gyoja at Keishooji 継松寺 Keisho-Ji - Nakamachi
岡寺山 Okaderazan 継松寺 Keishoji
三重県松阪市中町1952 / Mie, Matsusaka city, Nakamachi