Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Juroku Rakan Iwa

On November 23rd, hubby and I visited Juroku Rakan Iwa in Yuza town of Yamagata prefecture. Juroku Rakan Iwa is a set of 22 Buddhist statues carved into the lava rocks protruding into the Sea of Japan in Fukura village. Juroku Rakan signifies sixteen Buddhist priests who have attained enlightenment. Fukura was a fishing village facing the Sea of Japan and many local people have been killed in the sea. So Ishikawa Kankai, the 21st priest of Zen Buddhist Kaisenji Temple, along with local stone masons began carving these statues in 1864 and completed them in 1868. These statues were meant to watch over those who perished in the sea and also to pray for the safety of the living from any harm at sea.

The 22 Buddhist statues consist of 16 Arahats along with statues of Sharihotsu priest, Fugen bosatsu, Shakamuni butsu priest, Mokuren priest, Monju bosatsu, and Kannon bosatsu. The 16 Arahats are a group of saints in Buddhism who were predecessors or disciples of the Buddha. The 16 Arahats are called sonja and are named as Bindorabaradaja, Kanakabassa, Kanakabarudaja, Subinda, Nakola, Badara, Kalika, Bajarabutara, Jubaka, Hantaka, Ragon, Nagasena, Ingada, Banabasu, Ajita, and Chudahantaka.

We reached Juroku Rakan Iwa rocks at around 12 noon. After parking our car, we walked towards the rocky cliff and saw that the sea was rather rough that day. After walking down a few steps, we saw several statues carved into the lava rocks. The statues are all busts and are carved to fit in with the shape of the rocks and compliment the natural beauty of the area.
Rocky cliff along the Sea of Japan near Juroku Rakan Iwa

Juroku Rakan Iwa

I am standing near the lava rocks

Several Buddhist statues sculpted on the lava rocks (click on the photo for an enlarged view)

Hubby standing next to a group of statues

Several Buddhist statues along with the mythical shishi (rightmost)

We walked further down the steps and reached an open space in front of the Rakan statues. We saw that most of the statues are arranged around the figures of Shakamuni, Monju, and Fugen. For the sake of convenience, I have divided these statues into two groups. One group has statues of Sharihotsu butsu, Fugen bosatsu, Shakamuni butsu, Mokuren, Monju bosatsu, and mythical stone lion shishi. Another adjacent group has three statues, namely, Ingada sonja, Bindorabaradaja sonja, and Jubaka sonja. We turned around and saw a regal statue of Kannon bosatsu at a slightly higher level on the cliff. Though not so much larger than life, these statues wear varied expressions.
I am standing at an open space in front of the Rakan statues

First group of the Rakan statues (left to right): Sharihotsu, Fugen, Shakamuni (upper), Mokuren (lower), and Monju

First group of the Rakan statues from another angle

Second group of the Rakan statues (left to right): Ingada, Bindorabaradaja, and Jubaka

Statue of Kannon bosatsu

There were several more statues that are carved into the cliffs which run for several hundred meters against the rough waves of the Sea of Japan. We missed seeing almost all other statues as we did not look for them that carefully.

After enjoying viewing the Juroku Rakan statues, hubby climbed up the rocky cliff to get a better view of the sea waves. The sea was rather rough and it was fun to watch the waves hit the rocky cliffs. I compiled a video of the rough sea near Juroku Rakan Iwa cliff.
Hubby enjoying the rough sea waves

Hubby and the Sea of Japan

Sea waves hitting the rocky cliff

A compiled video of the rough sea near Juroku Rakan Iwa cliff

It was really nice to see so many Buddhist statues at Juroku Rakan Iwa cliff. Later hubby and I had lunch at a nearby restaurant. Ramen and gyoza dumplings were delicious.
Hubby having ramen

I am having gyoza



Hello Manisha !!!!.
New Year Greetings To You
Your family !!.
May 2011 bring you all the happiness and health with fulfilment of all your desires and wishes.

Nice pics... Will see all your recent posts which I couldn't read due to my busy schedule recently.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for your comment Dr. Yadav.
Wishing you and family also a very happy and prosperous New Year 2011.