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About Kouboudaishi

The revered and principal object of worship at this temple is the image of Buddhist priest Kukai, also well known by his posthumous name, Kobo Daishi, which means gthe great master who spread the Buddhist teachings.h During the Heian era Kobo Daishi introduced Shingon Buddhism to Japan, and is still considered the founder of these teachings in Japan.

Kobo Daishi was born in 774 A.D. in Sanuki. He went to the capital to enter college at the age of eighteen, where, in order to become a government bureaucrat, he studied Confucian classics, as well as Chinese literature and history. Suddenly, however, Kobo Daishi dropped out of college and became a Buddhist monk.

One day Kobo Daishi came across the Mahavairocana sutra, a very important scripture in Shingon Buddhism.
No one was able to thoroughly explain the meaning of this sutra to him, and to try to understand it by oneself is very difficult, so in 804 A.D. Kobo Daishi decided to go to China and find the great master of Shingon Buddhism. There he met Hui Kuo, who taught Kobo Daishi the doctrines and rituals of Shingon Buddhism. From Hui Kuo, Kobo Daishi became the successor to Shingon Buddhism. In 806 A.D. Kobo Daishi returned to Japan, where he spread the Shingon teachings until his life came to an end in 835 A.D.

The teachings of Kobo Daishi hold that humans have the gnature of Buddhah; thus, we are the same as Buddha and can attain enlightenment within this life. In other words, through secular illusions each person will have his gmindfs eyeh opened, and will be gawakenedh to the actualities of life. It is through this process that each person can become a Buddha with his present body.

Kobo Daishi was not only a great religious leader, but also an accomplished poet, calligrapher, educator, artist, and scientist in Japanese society and culture. His works of art and teachings continue to be respected, and he is still regarded as the gmother of Japanese cultureh and the gfather of Japanese Buddhism.h


A Brief History of Kawasaki Daishi

More than 880 years ago, during the reign of Emperor Sutoku, there lived a samurai named Hirama Kanenori. Due to a false accusation he was exiled from his birthplace, Owari, and after having wandered through many provinces, Kanenori finally settled in Kawasaki. Here, he made a humble living as a fisherman.

Kanenori was deeply devoted to the teachings of Buddhism, especially worshipping Kobo Daishi. At the time, he was 42 years old, an age considered to be climacteric for men. He reflected on his unfortunate fate and constantly supplicated for the ousting of evil.

One night a great priest appeared in Kanenorifs dream. gWhile living in China, I carved my image and subsequently cast it into the sea. You must go quickly and use your net to retrieve it. Give offerings of food, incense, flowers and so forth, thereby bringing blessings to the people. Your calamities will change to happiness and prosperity. Your numerous reuests will be fulfilled,h declared the great priest. So, Kanenori went out to sea, and at an especially glittering spot on the water he threw his net. When he pulled up the net, it contained a wooden statue of the revered figure of Kobo Daishi. At the time, there lived a Buddhist priest Sonken who spread the Buddhist teachings throughout the provinces of Wakayama Prefecture. One day he by chance stopped at the place of Kanenori, where he saw the figure of Kobo Daishi. He was moved to tears by the noble statue and extraordinary qualities that were attributed to it.

In the third year of the Daiji reign (1128), Buddhist priest Sonken and Kanenori began constructing a temple, which was the start of the present day Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji Temple, Grand Head Temple of the Chisan Sect of the Shingon Buddhism. It is the center of worship for devoted followers and spreading the teachings of Kobo Daishi.