Shikoku Pilgrimage, Temples 41, 42

A-gyō and Un-gyō, the guardians of Shingon temples 


In every temple gate of the Shingon sect, a pair of wrath-filled muscular guardians, called Kongō-rikishi, are standing at the entrance to ward off evil and protect the temple grounds.  The statue on the right with an open mouth is called A-gyō, representing the vocalization of “a”. The left statue, called Un-gyō, has a closed mouth and represents the sound “hum.” Both symbolize birth and death, similar to Alpha and Omega in Christianity and signify “all creation”.







Un-gyō, symbolising latent strength and power




The Niōmon or entrance gate to Butsumokuji, temple 42.  The statue of Kōbō Daishi welcoming every ohenro stands in the background. The statues of A-gyō and Un-gyō, two wrath-filled muscular guardians, are placed left and right behind the wooden fence of the entrance gate. They are a manifestation of the Bodhisvattva Vajrapāni and, according to Japanese tradition, travelled with Gautama Buddha to protect him.




Bell tower with straw thached roof



The main hall of Butsumokuji, with the statue of Kannon Bosatsu in the foreground.  The temple is also called the temple of Buddha’s tree. Today, many people come to cure illness and pray for dead pets.



Offerings as a thanks for the cure



16thcentury castle on the hill of Uwajima City



Uwajima City is known for bullfights. Different to the bullfights in Spain, there is no Matador involved. Two bulls fight against each other.



Fallen blossoms of Magnolia trees swept up by a lady in Uwajima City.  The pedestrian walkways in Japanese Cities are kept incredible clean.



House in the countryside



When I walked through the area, spring was popping up everywhere.






Nature sometimes takes over a house.








My most favorite part of walking was through cedar forests. The bark of an old Cedar tree is always soft and silky. Often, the bark is covered by moss.






At the end of the day, I had a nice dinner with pilgrim friends in the minshuku Miyako. Two of us wear a yukata.

Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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