Legends about Fudo

[ . BACK to Daruma Museum TOP . ]
. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .

Legends about Fudo Myo-O 不動様

There are so many legends, folktales, stories about Fudo . . .
This page is now Part 01.

. Legends about Fudo お不動さま - Part 02 .


Manga Mukashibanashi Database まんが日本昔ばなし

. Inukiri Fudo 犬切り不動尊 Fudo killed a dog .
Tochigi, 崇真寺 Shoshin-Ji

. おしのと火童子 O-Shino and the "Fire Child" .
Mino, Toki town, Gifu - Hiwarashi

お不動さま - Fudo from Tosa
八つ化け頭巾 Yatsubake Zukin - The hood . . .
甲斐の湖 Kai no Mizuumi - The Lake of Kai
宝の川 Takara no Kawa - The River of Treasures
笛吹川 River Fuefukigawa- Yamanashi

- source : nihon.syoukoukai.comx


O-Fudo sama from Takaoka in Tosa, Shikoku
土佐の高岡 - 積善寺

Once upon a time
there was a temple in Takaoka in Tosa where a statue of Yakushi Nyorai, Buddha of Medicine, was venerated and also a statue of Fudo Myo-O.
The Fudo did not have a special name, but it was said he was carved by the famous master Unkei.

One day the chief retainer of the Daimyo together with two samurai came to this temple to rest on their way from hunting. The retainer ( 家老 ) looked at the statue of Fudo and liked it very much. Despite the protest of the priest, he took the statue home to his estate.

When he reached his estate, he put the statue up an one side of his gate. Then in the evening he happily got drunk with sake.
At midnight suddenly a huge thunderstorm came up, with torrential rain and brought the slope behind his estate to slip down in a mudslide, destroying three farmhouses below it.

"This is certainly the revenge of Fudo Myo-O!" the villagers began to gossip the next morning. But the retainer laughed if off.
"No way, nothing happened to my own estate and my home is still here . . . hahaha!"

That night the retainer had a strange dream.
From a high mountain came a red burning light with a man on a horse and began to chase him around.
On the next day, he had been invited by a friend so they drank sake again and the retainer talked about his dream:

"Last night in my dream a huge man on a horse came down the mountain in a veil of fire!"
Another man had also seen this dream:
"That was a ghostly flying fireball!" 飛ぶ火の玉

"Never mind, that was just a trivial dream" the retainer dismissed the story with a loud laugh.

In the evening the retainer returned to his estate, but at the entrance gate the string of his sandals tore off, a sign of bad luck. When he tried to pass the gate, there stood Fudo Myo-O in a veil of flames and did not let him pass. Fudo stood there in the flames and did not listen to the excuses of the retainer. In no time his whole estate burned down.

Now the retainer was cured and brought the statue of Fudo back to the temple, where Fudo could stand like before next to Yakushi Nyorai, his friend. Both of them continued in their duty to look after the well-being of the villagers from now on again.

. Unkei 運慶 (1148 - 1224) .


Yatsubake zukin 八つ化け頭巾
The hood for eight spooks

no location.

A priest with a magic hood from a fox that lets him change into anything does a lot of nuisance.
kitsune no bake zukin 狐の化け頭巾

Once upon a time, a priest who liked to play pranks on people observed a fox in the forest, who tried to learn shape-shifting.

He tried to talk the fox into exchanging the hood, for a normal hood. and hoped thus to be able to shapeshift like the fox.
When he returned to his temple, there were two visitors, a head priest from another temple with his young acolyte.
So our priest thought this was a great chance to play a prank on them both.

He told the head priest to use the room he liked best from the two he showed them.
In the first room was a pretty lady.
In the second room was a Buddha statue.

The head priest, aware of his young acolyte, choose the room with the Buddha statue and began to chant his sutras. After a while, the young acolyte fell asleep.
So he sneeked out of the room to the other one with the lady and began to drink sake rice wine.

But the beautiful lady - you guess it already - was in fact our priest who had shapeshifted.
He changed again, became the flaming figure of Fudo Myo-O and shouted:
"Hey you, a priest should not drink sake, you know that!"

The head priest was taken by surprise and run away.

The fox on the other hand, who did not know his hood was now just a normal piece of cloth, tried to transform himself into a pretty lady and began to walk around in the village in his fox figure. All saw this ruse and laughed at the fox, who had been tricked himself.

. zukin 頭巾 (ずきん) hood - Introduction - .


国母稲積地蔵立像 Inazumi Jizo at Kokubo, Kofu
山梨県甲府市国母8丁目 - / 国母地蔵 - 法城寺 Kokubo Jizo - Hosho-Ji, now 東光寺 Toko-Ji

This is a story how two Shinto deities and two Buddhist deities 二仏二神
helped the people of Kai.

甲斐の湖 The lake of Kai (Yamanashi)

Kai is a province surrounded by high mountains on all sides and once upon a time,
the villagers here were all very poor, living in homes near the mountain slopes. looking down at a huge lake in the middle of the valley. There was no plain to use for rice fields and the ground was full of stones and gravel. They could only grow some kinds of millet and catch small fish in the rivers.

The Inazumi Jizo was thinking all the time about how he could help the poor farmers and drain off all that water. He asked two strong deities for their advise and help. They were really huge and when they stood by the lake they could reach the other side of the lake in the evening sunshine. Their shadow made the area all dark, even during daytime.

These two strong deities did not take long. One demolished the mountain, the other cut a valley into the slope. And there - all the water began to drain off through the new valley toward the river Fujigawa 富士川 and then into the ocean.
When the water began to move with great noise, another strong deity, Fudo Myo-O, heard the noise and thought that the water should be regulated by some dams so that it would not destroy the villages further down. So he made some dams and let the lake drain slowly within seven days and seven nights, until all the water was gone and the bottom of the valley became visible.

Suddenly there was a really, really huge plain down there, where all the villagers could have rice fields and homes.
So the villagers thanked Jizo Bosatsu with a great festival at the temple 東光寺,
and made a cave into the mountain and built the shrine Anagiri Jinja 穴切神社 (hole-cutting shrine) for the two strong deities who had helped drain the water. They called the deities now 蹴裂明神 Kesaki Myojin.
And further down at a dam they venerated a statue of
Sedate Fudo Myo-O 瀬立不動 (せだてふどう)
Setate Fudo sama (せたてふどうさま).

Anagiri Dai Jinja 穴切大神社 Anakiri Dai Jinja - founded around 708.
2 Chome-8-1 Takara, Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture / 山梨県甲府市宝二丁目8-1
- source : HP of the Shrine - anagiri

- source : anakiri

- - - - - Deities in residence
大己貴命 Onammuchi no Mikoto
少彦名命 Sukunahikona no Mikoto
素戔鳴命 Susanoo no Mikoto

- - - More in the Japanese WIKIPEDIA !


宝の川 The river of treasures
Fukushima, Nishi Aizu, river Kikozugawa

Once upon a time
in a village along the Kikozugawa in West-Aizu there lived a woodworker with his daughter, O-Yuki おゆき (Snow Girl). The mother had died five years ago and the two of them were now alone.

One day the father had gone out to the forest to help rescue a co-worker, who had been trapped under a fallen tree. But he got trapped himself and died. Before his grave the villagers promised to look after his daughter, O-Yuki.

They looked after her for a while, but then forgot all about her. So she had to make some money for herself and begun to collect shijimi clams シジミ from the river and sold them in the postal station nearby, to be used for the miso soup in the morning.

One evening an agent from the village came to her home. He proposed O-Yuki to become a maid servant for a family with children in Aizu. But O-Yuki refused, because the graves of both her parents were here in the village. So the agent told her that this land and house belonged to him, in fact, and she was to leave the premisses within 10 days. He had made up the tale of the family with children just to get rid of her.

Dear little O-Yuki did not know what to do and so the 10 days passed. The next day the agent came back and told her the house would be torn down tomorrow.
O-Yuki went to the little roadside sanctuary of Fudo Myo-O, sat down and thought about her future, sobbing and crying all along. Suddenly she heard a voice from the sanctuary.
She looked up and saw Fudo Myo-O standing there in his flaming halo.

He said:
"Dear little girl. Don't you worry. Just continue to collect the clams from this river. I will take care of the rest!"

The next day O-Yuki went to the river very early to collect clams, just as Fudo sama had told her. And then, when the sun was just about to rise there suddenly was a strong earthquake. A mountain tsunami 山津波 (mud slide) destroyed all the homes of the village and burried everything under the fallen earth. But to her surprise, her own home was left intact and not even touched by the huge mountain slide.
And the evil agent was probably killed by the slide, too; anyway, he never showed up again.

When O-Yuki walked down to the river, the clams had all disappeared. But in their place, there were beautiful stones, all glimmering and shining. When she brought them to the postal station, they sold for a lot of money and O-Yuki became quite rich. Now she could built a nice grave for her parents and live well for ever after.

That is why folks call it "the river of treasures" (hookawa 宝川).


笛吹川 River Fuefukigawa
"River where the flute was played"

Yamanashi 山梨県

- source with more photos : kousyuusai_001

笛吹川中流(一之釜、不動の滝)Fudo Waterfall

Gonzaburo Fudo 権三郎不動

Upstream of this river, there was a small village called Mitomi 三富村 and there lived a young man called Gonzaburo 権三郎 with his old mother, just the two of them.
He liked to play the flute and his mother liked to listen to him very much.

Then one day in a summer with a lot of rain and then a typhoon, the river was overflowing, swallowing all the homes near the riverbank. The house of Gonzaburo was also lost in the water. Gonzaburo held onto the arm of his mother, but the river was so fast and strong, he could not hold her any more and she was eventually swallowed by the waters.

Next morning the river was all quiet again. But the body of his mother was nowhere to be seen. So Gonzaburo thought, his mother must still be alive somewhere and he went to the riverbank every day, walking up and down, playing his flute for her.

Winter came and went and it was spring again. Gonzaburo kept walking up and down the riverbank, playing the flute. But one day, the sound of the flute was not heard as usual and all was quiet. Eventually the dead body of Gonzaburo was found on the riverbank.

The villagers felt so sorry for Gonzaburo and his mother. They called on a priest from the nearby temple to have a proper burial for him. They build a small sanctuary and called it
Gonzaburo Fudo 権三郎不動.

Since then, the river was known under the name of
Fuefukigawa 笛吹川 "River where the flute was played".


Yamagata, Tazawa 山形 田沢

A record of winning with the help of Fudo

Once upon a time
in 白夫平 Shirobudaira there lived a man called 三十郎 Sanjuro. He was born a weak boy and his greatest wish was to become a strong man.
In his village there was a heavy stone of more than 23 kan 二十五貫 (one kan is about 3.75kg), called the banmochi ishi 番持石 "stone to test your strength". The young men of the village tried to move it and play with it.
Sanjuro, who had only one seventh of the strength of the other young men, could not move this special stone.

When nobody was around, late at night or early in the moning, Sanjuro came to this stone ant tired to move it, but he never could and felt really left out and angry at himself.

So one day he had the idea that to improve his strength, he needed the help of Fudo Myo-O. So at the double-hour of the bull on three days of the month 三、七、二十一日の丑の刻, he made a strong wish and plea to the deity.

In the first week, Sanjuro went to the temple of Fudo Myo-O to pray. When he clapped his hands in prayer, he realized that the small temple had inclined to one side. So the straightened it out and went on to the Fudo Waterfall.
On his way he had to deal with a few more difficulties - as if the deity was testing him. Even a huge bull was sleeping in the middle of the road.

But Sanjuro was quite determined and made it to the last day of his pledge.
There he heared the voice of Fudo:
"Hey, Sanjuro" and in all innocense he answered "Yes, right here!".

Because he had replied to the call, he could not receive all the strength of Fudo Myo-O and could only get 倍力の力 - part of the strength.
But he could pass on that "power of God" 三十郎の神力 to his own son.

- source : www.tazawa-forest.com

. ushi no koku 丑の刻 double-hour of the bull .
This time was the best to make a wish or place a curse with the help of the deities, be it Buddhist or Shinto.


. Senryuuji 泉龍寺 Senryu-Ji . - Ibaraki
Scroll about the History of the Fudo Temple

. Legends about Fudo お不動さま - Part 02 .


. - Join Fudo Myo-O on facebook - Fudō Myō-ō .


. Pilgrimages to Fudo Temples 不動明王巡礼
Fudo Myo-O Junrei - Fudo Pilgrims .

- - - - - #fudolegends - - - - -


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

More legends about

yamatsunami 山津波 "mountain Tsunami"


Gabi Greve said...

Legends about Fuefukigawa
from Chichibu Kaido 秩父街道 Chichibu Highway

Tales told by 望月整子 Mochizuki Yoshiko
秩父街道の伝説と昔話 Tales from the Chichibu Highway

Once upon a time,
弘法大師 Kobo Daishi was in 川浦地方 the Kawaura region and begged an old woman for some kayu 粥 rice gruel made with 粟 millet.
The old woman said she had kept some ヤマメ Yamame trout in the gruel and it tasted unpleasant, so she could not give it to him. Kobo Daishi said if she would let the fish back into the river, they will come back to life. When the old woman threw the boiled 山女魚 Yamame into the river, they came back to life and swam away with the rice gruel still on their bodies.
Since that time, the Yamame in the river 笛吹川 Fuefukigawa have some spots like millet grains on their body.
東山梨郡 Higashi-Yamanashi district 三富村 Mitomi mura village

In the river Fuefukigawa there were two hollows and then from Mitomi the lumber was transported downriver.
If anything fell into the hollow, it was lost to the deep bottom.
To prevent things from getting lost, people made offerings of 酒1樽 one barrel of sake rice wine and 赤飯 one dish of auspicious red rice to the Suijin 水神 Deity of Water.
The barrels and rice were bound together strongly and placed into the hollow in the evening. Next morning they would float empty on the water.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from 東八代郡 Higashi-Yatsushiro district 石和町 Isawa town
Kanzaburo no borei 勘三郎の亡霊 The ghost of Kanzaburo
In 石和町 Isawa town near 笛吹川 the river Fuefukugawa, three hamlets upstream and downstream were forbidden to fish. The 鵜使 cormorant fisher 勘三郎 Kanzaburo ignored this order and the villagers killed him. Now the ghost of Kanzaburo appeared every night and troubled the villagers. Later 日蓮上人 Saint Nichiren passed this area. He took stones, wrote one letter of the Hokekyo Sutra on each stone and placed it in the river. Then he performed special rituals to appease the ghost and since then, nothing strange happened any more. At the temple 遠妙寺 Onmyo-Ji there some of these stones are still kept. .