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Thread: What is it?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    What is it?

    Hey y'all,
    I found this in my dad's basement awhile ago; it was a gift from one of his duty stations in Gotemba. It's basically a piece of painted wood that goes on a stand. I know generally what it's about, but I don't know what it says or what its function (if any) would be.

    gassho,
    Chris

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  2. #2

    Re: What is it?

    Well, I don't read Japanese really well, or for that matter...at all, but it looks like a Pure Land representation of the heirarchy of Buddhas.

  3. #3

    Re: What is it?

    Well, I am not sure of the source, but it is a representation of the eight Buddhist Patrons associated with the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac ... read more here, probably more information than you wish (scroll down about an inch, then discussed in more detail right near the end) ...

    http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/12-zodiac.shtml




    ... The central figure may be Shakyamuni Buddha ..

    ... and on the back is the Heart Sutra!

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: What is it?

    Oh cool!
    That makes sense - I heard a lot from the wind originating out of the South East

    Gassho
    Shohei

  5. #5
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Re: What is it?

    Jundo - Thanks for figuring it out; I read the passage on the site. Thought it was interesting.

    Christopher - Thanks for taking a stab at it - your guess was better than mine.

    Shohei - lol. I was thinking that the Fugen avatar wasn't wearing a Fedora...

    gassho,
    Chris

  6. #6

    Re: What is it?

    By the way, if anyone is wondering about the connection of all this to Zen Practice, the Buddhist Teachings ...

    ... well, let us just say that, just like astrology and fortune telling in the west, it might be described as just a traditional popular or folk belief for centuries and centuries. Fortune telling became mixed in with some Buddhist elements, and visa versa, and people throughout history (right since the Buddha's time) ran to Buddhist priests (and still do now) to have a fortune read or a ceremony performed to change their luck or remove a bad fate, to purchase a protective amulet (in some sense, that may be the main reason that most people even practice Buddhism or visit a Shinto Shrine ... for good luck and protection from spiritual forces the eye can't see).

    Even today, a lot of temples in Japan, China, Thailand, Korea and other lands (Zen and all kinds, Shinto Shrines too) have a little corner where one can purchase fortunes (rather lucrative for the temple too ... like the vending machines below in some Japanese temples and shrines). Buddha and Dogen often warned Buddhist priests not to engage in such pursuits ... but so many Buddhist monks in the past (still today) also tell fortunes in one way or another.



    Small versions of the kind of wooden plaque you have can be purchased at temples and shrines throughout Japan for a modest fee, then are left there ... wishing for entrance into a good college, recovery from sickness, business success ...



    Me ... I have the power to see the future (the past too) by seeing the present ...

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: What is it?

    AND NOW, for the rest of the story; or at least one version of it. :P http://bit.ly/aP6n0


    gassho,

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