Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Japan - Komokuten

Nara used to be the capital of Japan, before Kyoto and now, Tokyo. This was because the new emperor would pick where he wanted the capital to be each time.

As a capital Nara was made a hub of Buddhist temples, including the largest of these in which the 'Big Buddha' stands. The Buddha is indeed, very big, and for me it was quite an incredible experience. The architecture of the building was something to behold. The fine detail of the Buddha, given the scale, was quite impressive. My favourite bit was the fine detailed drawings on the metal petals of the lotus flower on which the Buddha sat.

On either side were two more massive sculptures, this time out of stone. Their fearsome faces indicated that they were deities or protectors of some sort - especially as they both appeared to be standing on top of slain dragons. But it was the one on the left, called Koumokuten, that really struck me. This guy, who was clearly a force to be reckoned with AKA Super badass, was holding a scroll in one hand and a brush in the other.

The pen is mightier than the sword. 

Upon arriving in Kyoto and gaining access to the interwebs once more I looked him up and have come to learn that he is one of four deities that protect the four realms of the Buddha. His name means 'wide eyed' or 'expansive vision' and he encourages aspirations for enlightenment. I think it's pretty nifty that this involves a pen and a scroll - very telling.

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