Koyasan Shingon Sect (高野山真言宗)
Koyasan Shingon sect is one of Shingon sect that was founded in the early Heian Period by Kobo Daishi (a posthumous title of the priest Kukai) who visited China and studied Esoteric Buddhism with Keika (also called Eka) in Qinglongsi Temple (in Xian City) in Changan (Xian City) during the Tang Dynasty (China).
The grand head temple is Koyasan Kongobu-ji Temple. It is also called Koya sect or Koya school.
Yukei MATSUNAGA, a Daisojo (a Buddhist priest of the highest order) and a chief priest of Fudaraku-in Temple of Koyasan, assumed the 412th head priest of Kongobu-ji Temple, Grand Head Temple of Koyasan Shingon sect in November 15, 2006.
The term of the head priest is four years. The head priest is the highest position that also works as a chief abbot of Koyasan Shingon sect.
Koyasan (Koya-cho, Ito-gun, Wakayama Prefecture) was granted as an Imperial gift from Emperor Saga to Kukai in 816. Since then, Garan (Buddhist cathedrals) and several halls were built in the Koyasan, and the esoteric ritual and the education for disciples were performed at the sites. Women were barred from the mountain until 1872.
The temple name became Kongobu-ji Temple after the merger in 1869 between Seigan-ji Temple in Koyasan founded by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in 1593 for the repose of the soul of his mother, Omandokoro (Mother of the chief Adviser to the Emperor), and Kozan-ji Temple founded by Mokujiki Ogo in 1590. There used to be Kozan-ji Temple next to Seigan-ji Temple. Seigan-ji Temple was initially called Teihatsu-ji Temple. A Kozan-ji Temple was a Chokugan-ji Temple (temple built at the order of the emperor) where the Imperial scroll of 'Kozan-ji Temple' was granted it as an Imperial gift from Emperor Goyozei.
Before the merger, the temple name of Kongobu-ji Temple was the name for the entire Koyasan (Mt. Koya). The name of a specific temple was not used as the title of the temple, unlike today's practice. The current building of Kongobu-ji Temple was built in 1863 and is also used as dwelling for the head priest of Koyasan Shingon sect.
After the Meiji period, in accordance with the religious policies of the government, the Koyasan Shingon sect became a part of the Old Shingon sect, which was merged with the other religious schools of the Shingon sect (Omuro school of the Shingon sect [the grand head temple is Ninna-ji Temple], Daikaku-ji school of the Shingon sect [the head temple is Daikaku-ji Temple], etc.), and became the grand head temple of the Old Shingon sect. Afterward, it was split into schools and merged. It became independent as Koyasan Shingon sect from the Dai Shingon sect in 1946, and was granted religious corporation status on February 18, 1952.
Crest of sect
Mitsudomoe (literally, three comma-shaped figures in a circle)
It was the family crest of Chinju Niutsuhime-jinja Shrine (commonly known as Amano-jinja Shrine).
Creed and belief
When classifying the Koyasan Shingon sect according to the creed, it belongs to the Old Shingon sect (Old-interpretation school) of Old Shingon schools (Omuro school of Shingon Sect or Daikaku-ji school of Shingon sect etc.) which have ancient principles of Koyasan that preach the theory of Honjishin (dharma-body of Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana), ant it makes the base of the sect.
On the other hand, New Shingon sect (New-interpretation school) was branched from the Old Shingon sect at the end of 13th century and founded by Kakuban (Kogyo Daishi). The New Shingon sect has new principles that preach the doctrine based on Kajishin (Buddha-body within a practitioner [esoteric Buddhism]) and includes New Shingon schools (Chizan School of Shingon Sect, Buzan School of Shingon sect, etc.) branched from Negoro-ji Temple (Grand Head Temple of New Shingon sect)(Wakayama Prefecture).
Three doctrines for believers of Koyasan Shingon sect
There are three doctrines about religious faith in Koyasan Shingon sect.
Three doctrines for believers of Koyasan Shingon sect
Decide the faith in this world and the next with the oath of Daishi (literally a great master). Observe moral principles by embracing the teaching of Shion Juzen (four gratitude and ten good acts). Make the most of your life and others' by believing in the order of retribution. The Koyasan Shingon sect has Kobo Daishi as its founder. The mausoleum of Kobo Daishi in Koyasan Oku no in (inner temple) is the origin of the religious belief.
As the objects for worship, Dainichi Nyorai of both Kongokai (spiritual principles) and Taizokai (physical principles) are enshrined in Saito (literally, Western Tower) and Konpon Daito (literally, Primal Tower), and there is a danjo (platform for religious practice) on which Garan and halls such as Miedo Hall (It was a dwelling of Kobo Daishito and now enshrines Mie (image) of Kobo Daishi) and Fudodo Hall are built, and the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi in Okunoin, where he attained Nirvana, is the sacred place.
All the things in the universe are representations of 'Life' of Dainichi Nyorai and 'Mandala' represents the 'Life.'
The primal Buddhist image is Dainichi Nyorai of the Dharmakaya Buddha and the primal scriptures are 'Dainichi-kyo (Mahavairocana Sutra)' and 'Kongocho-kyo (Vajrasekhara Sutra).'
In 1984, the Koyasan Shinto sect advocated the slogan 'Make the Most of Life', aiming at realizing a spiritually rich society by spreading the revival of aspiration for Buddhahood and the message of Sokushin-Jobutsu (to learn the equality and dignity of 'Life' and realize the wisdom of Dainichi Nyorai in this world), and creating the living Buddha Lands in this world.
With the spirit of Kyori Shoju (the idea that all living things can receive a benefit, that is, live oneself and others together) by Kobo Daishi, they are working as 'Gohogo Nenju (recite a prayer to the Amitabuddah) Movement' a religious group to contribute to society.
The 'Gohogo' means 'Namu Daishi Henjo Kongo (a sutra which is chanted to worship Kobo Daishi).'
Requirements for priesthood and chief priest
1. Tokudo (enter the Buddhist priesthood)
2. Kegyo (ascetic practices)
3. Jukai (receive religious precepts)
4. Kanjo (a consecration ceremony by pouring water onto the top of monk's head)
5. Sobyo Sanro (confine oneself in a temple to pray), Receive official certificate, Priesthood record
No.1 to 5 are the requirements for chief priest, and in addition, Horyu Sojo (inheritance of the system of teachings) is required.
There are some temples which have a vice priest other than the chief priest.
Honorary chief priest
when he fulfills the requirements set by the Koyasan Shingon sect such as serving out as the chief priest of a temple belonging to Koyasan Shingon sect for 20 years, he would be admitted the title of a honorary chief priest.
Koyasan Shingon sect did not have the term of the chief priest, and it had a lifetime system, but when the chief priest leave his service due to old age or other reasons, he would be an apprentice in the temple where he used to serve. The chief priest will be in the same status as other apprentices. When the chief priest continues to live in the temple to educate a successive one after the retirement from the chief priest, even in the terms of the status, the apprentice (previous chief priest) in the temple would teach a chief priest. Therefore, the title of a honorary chief priest was established in consideration of the guarantee of status after the retirement from the chief priest. Another purpose of establishing the honorary post is to activate personnel by making it easy to replace the chief priest.
There is little difference between the chief priest and the honorary chief priest in their official authorities in the temple, although the honorary chief priest does not have eligibility to run for the chief abbot of Koyasan Shingon sect.
Rank of priest
Priests have to meet the requirements set by the Koyasan Shingon sect to be promoted to the higher rank of priest.
The requirements are to confine oneself in the mausoleum of Oku no in in Koyasan to pray, to pass the examination of the esoteric ritual conducted by the religious service department, to stay in the rank of priest for a certain period and so on.
Evangelist (two types: Evangelist of Koyasan, Evangelist of Koyasan Eika [a Buddhist hymn])
List of Kyokai (hierarchy)
List of Sokai (rank of priest)
(Number of rank, Rank of priest, Special title, Gakkai [knowledge rank of priest, Hierarchy)(Qualification, Color of clerical garment)(For no title, written as 'Nil')
First rank: Daisojo, Syukuro (chief vassal), Sekigaku (great scholar), Syukyo, (Scarlet)
A first rank priest is allowed to wear a scarlet Ori-gojo (a semiformal Kesa [Buddhist stole]).
Second rank: Gon-daisojo, Syukuro, Sekigaku, Syukyo, (Purple)
A Second rank priest is allowed to wear a purple Ori-gojo. In memory of the promotion to Gon-daisojo, a purple Ori-gojo is presented (only once) from Kongobu-ji Temple.
Third rank: Chusojo, Gakuto (head student), Gakusho (excellent student), Kokyo, (Purple)
Fourth rank: Gon-Chusojo, Gakuto, Gakusho, Kokyo, (Purple)
Fifth rank: Shosojo, Nil, Toko (reviewer at the post who reviews a book offered by the lecturer for the Emperor), Jikyo, (Purple)
Sixth rank: Gon shosojo, Nil, Toko, Jikyo, (Purple)
Seventh rank: Daisozu, Nil, Tsukasako, Shikyo (bishop), (graduate from graduate school)
Eight rank: Gon daisozu, Nil, Tsukasako, Shikyo (bishop), (college graduate)
Ninth rank: Chusozu, Nil, Tsukasako, Shikyo (bishop), (in the third year of college)
Tenth rank: Gon chusozu, Nil, Hoko, Hokyo, (in the second year of college)
Eleventh rank: Shosozu, Nil, Hoko, Nil, (in the first year of college)
Twelfth rank: Gon shosozu, Nil, Nil, Nil, (graduate from high school, or special institute)
Thirteenth rank: Dai risshi, Nil, Nil, Nil, (second year of high school)
Fourteenth rank: Risshi, Nil, Nil, Nil, (first year of high school)
Fifteenth rank: Gon risshi, Nil, Nil, Nil
Sixteenth rank: Probationary teacher, Nil, Nil, Nil
Jikaku (status of a Buddhist temple) (random order)
Grand head temple: Kongobu-ji Temple (in Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture)
Main temple: Hoju-in Temple (in Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture)
Bekkaku-honzan (special head temple)
27 temples in Koyasan - (in Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture), Hoki-in Temple, Yochi-in Temple, Tentoku-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Shochi-in Temple, Saizen-in Temple, Myoo-in Temple (in Koyasan), Ryuko-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Shinno-in Temple, Soji-in Temple, Nishimuro-in Temple, Nan-in Temple, Kongosanmai-in Temple, Ryusei-in Temple, Kodai-in Temple, Fukuchi-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Hongaku-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Hon no-in Temple, Fumon-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Ichijo-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Fugen-in Temple, Saimon-in Temple, Daien-in Temple, Jimyo-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Tamon-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Sanbo-in Temple (in Koya-cho), Henjoko-in Temple, Shojoshin-in Temple, Entsuritsu-ji Temple
Hokkaido, Tohoku region
Kofuku-ji Temple (Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture)
Hokuetsu, Kanto region
Takasaki Kannon (Deity of Mercy) (in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture), Kongo-in Temple (in Hachioji City), Natadera Temple (in Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture), Fudo-ji Temple (in Tsubata-machi, Ishikawa Prefecture)
Hattasan Sonei-ji Temple (in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture), Kosho-ji Temple (in Showa Ward, Nagoya City), Enkyo-ji Temple (in Kitagata-cho, Gifu Prefecture)
Ansho-ji Temple (in Kyoto City), Jofuku-ji Temple (in Ikeda City), Ebara-ji Temple (in Sakai City), Yata-dera Temple (in Yamatokoriyama City), Daian-ji Temple (in Nara City), Taima-dera Temple (in Taima-cho, Nara Prefecture), Ofusa Kannon (in Kashihara City), Jison-in Temple (in Kudoyama-cho, Wakayama Prefecture), Koryu-ji Temple (in Kobe City), Mondoyakujin Toko-ji Temple (in Nishinomiya City), Enman-ji Temple (in Nishinomiya City), Senko-ji Temple (in Sumoto City), Ruri-ji Temple (in Sayo-cho), Onsen-ji Temple (in Toyooka City)
Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu region
Kiyama-ji Temple (in Maniwa City), Saidai-ji Temple (in Okayama City), Gokuraku-ji Temple (in Hatsukaichi City), Kokubun-ji Temple (in Shimonoseki City, in Hofu City), Tatsue-ji Temple (in Komatsushima City), Yakuo-ji Temple (in Minami-cho), Kakurin-ji Temple (in Katsuura-cho), Sankaku-ji Temple (in Shikokuchuo City), Nanzo-in Temple (in Sasaguri-machi, Fukuoka Prefecture), Nomiyama Kannon-ji Temple (in Sasaguri-machi, Fukuoka Prefecture)
Jun-bekkaku-honzan (associate head temple): Koya-ji Temple (in Hakodate City, Hokkaido Prefecture), Kinpo-ji Temple (in Asahikawa City, Hokkaido Prefecture), Saitan-ji Temple (in Kushiro City, Hokkaido Prefecture), Kanki-in Temple (in Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture), Hoan-ji Temple (in Osaka City), Shaka-in Temple (in Osaka City), Daijobo Temple (in Osaka City), Taiyu-ji Temple (in Osaka City), Seisho-ji Temple (in Osaka Prefecture) and so on.
Branch temples - 1. Direct branch temple, 2. Public branch temple, 3. Special branch temple
Public branch temple: Cooperatively opened by local temples.
Koyasan branch temple in Sanuki (in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture), Koyasan branch temple in Fukuyama (in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture)
Special branch temple: Opened with special certification.
Ryuko-ji Temple of Koyasan branch temple in Hokkaido (in Chuo Ward, Sapporo City), Seiryu-ji Temple (in Aomori City), Koyasan branch temple in Kurashiki (in Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture), Koyasan branch temple in Kibi (in Kurashiki City), Koyasan branch temple in Imabari (in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture)
Other branch temples: Koyasan branch temple in the United States of America (in Little Tokyo, Los Angels), Koyasan branch temple in Hawaii (in Honolulu, Hawaii), Koyasan branch temple in Shanghai City (in Shanghai City before the war)
Organization of local temples
Daily and monthly events
Daily in Oku no in - Two priests who practice asceticism are normally present and recite sutras.
Daily in Danjo Garan (the precinct for religious practices) - Two Satanin (an officer collecting render, conveying the order of the lord of the manor, etc.) and two Ajari (a master in esoteric Buddhism) on a five-day rotation
Monthly, 16th of every month - Dialogue lecture in Sanno-in Temple
Monthly, 19th of every month - Dialogue lecture in Miedo Hall
Monthly, 21st of every month - Mieiku (memorial service for Kobo Daishi) in Oku no in, Miedo Hall
New Year's service in Oku no in - On January 1, 2, 3
New Year's service in Kondo Hall - On January 1, 2, 3
New Year's service in Daito (a pagoda that according to Shingon doctrine represents the central point of a Mandala) - On January 5
New Year's prayer service in Kongobu-ji Temple - On January 5
Prayer service of Mishiho Yohai (New Year ritual) - On January 11
Memorial service for the deceased in the Great Hanshin Earthquake - On January 17
Prayer service in Daito Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival) - On February 3
Memorial service for Buddha in Kongobu-ji Temple - On February 14, 15
Service of Hoin (the highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests) Tenne shiki (public announcement of Hoin wearing a scarlet robe) - On Kichijitsu (lucky day) around March, 10
Spring Equinox service in Kondo Hall - Three consecutive days beginning on the day before the middle day of Spring Equinox.
Shomieku (memorial service for Kobo Daishi) in Oku no in (New calendar) - On March 21
Celebration of Buddha's birthday in Kongobu-ji Temple - On April 8
Memorial service of Teigi (prayers wind through the temple for pray) for Great Mandala in Kondo Hall - On April 10
Mando mange-e (Memorial service for ancestors with lanterns and flowers) in Garan (old lunar calendar) - On March 20
Otaiya (night before the funeral in Buddhism) of Old Shomieku (old lunar calendar) - On March 20
Old Shomieku (old lunar calendar) - On March 21
Old Shomieku in Miedo Hall (old lunar calendar) - On March 21
Buddhist lantern festival in Oku no in - On April 21
Taizokai Kechien Kanjo (to have a good relationship with Buddha) in Kondo Hall - On May 3,4,5
Dai Segaki-e (literally, 'hungry ghosts' feeding rites') in Oku no in - On May 21
Summer memorial service in Sanno-in Temple (old lunar calendar) - On May 1, 2
Rissei (rites for learning about Buddhist scriptures) in Sanno-in Temple - On May 3
Memorial service for the birth of Kobo Daishi - On June 15
Aoba Festival in Koyasan - On June 15
Memorial service for Darani in Junteido Hall - On July 1
Lecture in Kongobu-ji Temple (old lunar calendar) - On June 9, 10
Misaishoko (lectures on the Konkomyo-saishoo sutra) in Sanno-in Temple (old lunar calendar) - On June 10, 11
Fudangyo (consistent reading of Buddhist scriptures every day) in Kondo Hall - One week from on August 7
Memorial service for the Emperor Godaigo in Daito - On July 16
Urabon-e Festival (Festival of the Dead or Buddhist All Souls' Day) in Kongobu-ji Temple - On August 11
Memorial service with candle lights in Oku no in - On August 13
Memorial service for the deceased in the Great Kanto Earthquake - On September 1
Kangaku-e (Association for the encouragement of learning) - In September
Memorial service for Dento Kokushi - On September 11
Autumn Equinox service in Kondo Hall - Three consecutive days beginning on the day before the middle day of Autumn Equinox.
Dosha-kaji in Kondo Hall - On the middle day of Autumn Equinox
Buddhist lantern festival in Oku no in - On October 1,2,3
Kongokai Kechien Kanjo in Kondo Hall - On October 1,2,3
Myojin Hosogei (to send and welcome Myojin [a gracious deity]) - On September 3
Shigo Hosan-e (rites for praising to receive the name of 'Kobo Daishi' from the Emperor Daigo) - On October 27
Dedication ceremony of Gohei (staff with plaited paper streamers used in Shinto) in Miyashiro, Koyasan - December 31
Great Buddhist memorial service for the anniversary of the foundation the temple in Koyasan - In every 50 years
Great Buddhist memorial service for the anniversary of the birth of Kobo Daishi - In every 50 years
Great Buddhist memorial service for the Nyujo (calm contemplation) and death of Kobo Daishi - In every 50 years
Organization of temple
Chief abbot (head priest of Kongobu-ji Temple) - Four-year term/Based on Recommendation
Seven responsible directors
Temple office - Set up in the Kongobu-ji Temple
District office of temple - Branch temple
Organization of local temple (Eight areas in Japan, Set up 53 branch offices) - Organization of temple in Japan (About 4000 temples) - Chief priest of representative director - Responsible director
Temple branch office - Branch chief/Three-year term: Rotation by the temple chief priest under the each temple branch office
A house of the chief priest who serves as a branch chief will be a temple branch office.
Normally, once the priest became a branch chief, he is seldom reappointed for a second term. However, he may be reappointed tat his own request. The agreement of the temples under the branch office is required for the reappointment.
Every branch office has the posts such as representative and vice chief, and a chief priest or his family members under the branch office will take those posts. Although there is little difference between the posts in each branch office, it may have an original post according to each office.
List of temple branch offices
Temple branch office in Hokkaido
Temple branch office in Fukushima
Temple branch office in Tochigi
Temple branch office in Gunma
Temple branch office in Yamanashi
Temple branch office in Saitama
Temple branch office in Tokyo
Temple branch office in Kanagawa
Temple branch office in Sagami
Temple branch office in Toyama
Temple branch office in Aichi
Temple branch office in Nohi
Temple branch office in Mie
Temple branch office in Fukui
Temple branch office in Toyama
Temple branch office in Ishikawa
Temple branch office in Tango
Temple branch office in Tamba
Temple branch office in Kyoto
Temple branch office in Osaka
Temple branch office in Izumi
Temple branch office in Kawachi
Temple branch office in Nara
Temple branch office in Uchiyoshino
Temple branch office in Wakayama
Temple branch office in Tajima
Temple branch office in Hyogo
Temple branch office in Harima
Temple branch office in Tokushima
Temple branch office in Awa
Temple branch office in Kagawa
Temple branch office in Kochi
Temple branch office in Ehime
Temple branch office in Mimasaka
Temple branch office in Bicchu
Temple branch office in Bizen
Temple branch office in Hiroshima
Temple branch office in Tottori
Temple branch office in Shimane
Temple branch office in Yamaguchi
Temple branch office in Goto
Temple branch office in Fukuoka
Temple branch office in Kumamoto
Temple branch office in Oita
Temple branch office in Miyazaki
Committee of Koyasan Shingon Sect (The Committee, for short)
It is held in Spring and Autumn.
Member: Ten Venerable authorities of Kongobu-ji Temple
Councilors elected from local electoral districts (councilors of the Committee) (Four-year term/27 councilors)
Head of temple office (who supervises the bureau and the election system with a term of three years, and also serves as a head regent of Kongobu-ji Temple)
Office for head of temple office (A manager of the office is placed)
General Affairs Department - General Affairs Division/Labor Welfare Division/Disaster Prevention Division/Planning OfficeCommunity Human Rights Department - Community Division/Human Rights Division (The chief of Community Human Rights Department is placed.)
Educational Department - Edification Division/Education and Publicity Division/Educational Division
Finance Department - Accounts Division/Engineering Division/Supplies Division
Buddhist Service Department - Buddhist Service Division/Buddhist Supporter Division
Forestry Department - Forestry Division
(Each department has a chief and the chief also serves as a head regent of Kongobu-ji Temple.)
Department of Operation of the Temple (The chief of the Department serves as a secretary of the chief abbot)
Put a chief of the Department of Operation of the Temple.
Garan (Buddhist temple) (Put Yuina [the general affairs person in a temple] as a person in charge.)
Oku no in (inner sanctuary) (Put Yuina as a person in charge.)
Buddhist churches in North America, South America, Hawaii, and Canada
Los Angeles Koyasan Beikoku Betsuin (General Directorial Division of Buddhist Churches in North America in Los Angels)
Bangkok in the Kingdom of Thailand (Kaikyo Sodo Hall)
Headquarters of Koyasan Daishi Organization - Branch office of Daishi Organization
Shuki Advisory Committee
System Research Committee
Woman's Club of family member of chief priest
Women's Club of Mikkyo (Esoteric Buddhism)
Related Organization and Association
Koyasan Reihokan Museum
Association of Koyasan Supporter - Koyasan Committee of Important Affairs.
Koyasan Committee of Important Affairs
Service Association of Koyasan Kobo Daishi - Established in 1984
Sanyo (Councilor) Committee of Koyasan Shingon sect
Forestry Cooperative of temple estate in Koyasan
Administration Office of Kado (flower arrangement) Koyasan (President: Chief abbot of Koyasan Shingon sect) - Kado Division
Administration Office for the Dedication of Copied Sutra
Koyasan Kongo school - Set the headquarters of Kongoko, the organization of Goeika (a Buddhist hymn), in the headquarters of Koyasan Daishi Organization.
Administration Office of Koyasan Religious Buyo dance (dance to the rhythm of Goeika)
Foundation of Koyasan Cultural Property Preservation Society
Foundation of Koyasan Kangaku (the encouragement of learning)
Calligraphic Skill Competition in Koyasan
International Exchange Center
Incorporated School of Koyasan Gakuen
Koyasan High School
Koyasan Special Institute - In Daihonzan (main temple), Hoju-in Temple
Koyasan Jiso Kodensho - Shinbetsusyo Entsuritsu-ji Temple
Koyasan Nun Institute