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Midamafudouson Temple

Mount Midama Shohoin (Midamafudouson) is a Tendai sect temple in the Midama part of town. The origin story is that in 1185 at the Battle of Dan-no-ura the Taira clan were defeated, and in the following year Taira no Kiyomori’s vassal Miyamoto Seizaemon following orders dedicated to the guardian deity of the Taira clan, Fudo Myo-o, enshrined it at Midama, and became the first head priest. So Shohoin was formed. The main image was of Fudo Myo-o but on the back were the words “The wisdom of Kiyomori.” In 1822 the four buildings of the monastery were burned down following the request of Taira-no-Kiyomori but the main building and Fudo Myo-o escaped the flames. In 1914 the Fudo-do was lost to fire, and the current Fudo-do was rebuilt in 1919. The main deity Fudo Myo-o has a spiritual affinity with eye diseases and many tales from ancient times remain about the healing of eye conditions.
The main hall of Fudo-do was built up a flight of 70 stone steps on the middle part of the northern heights. Down the steps at the shrine entrance is the Shohoin and the two and a half meter tall guardian statues at the Niomon gate which protect the main hall.
The main hall and the approach path are surrounded by old cedar trees, and along the stone steps there is a clear water stream that flows over rocks forming waterfalls in various places. Within the grounds even in the heat of the summer one feels cool, and it is said to be one of the best sacred sites in the whole district.
It is like an air-conditioned room so people come here to cool down during the summer. It is also known as a hidden power spot among the locals.

[Fudo Myo-o]

In esoteric Buddhism the wrathful form of Buddha is known as Kyoryo Rinshin, Birushana Buddha appears as Dainichi Buddha, and it is said that Fudo Myo-o is the Kyoryo Rinshin. From its dignified appearance it is said to overcome all disasters and protect true believers who are facing hardship.

[Nio-Mon Gate]

The nio guardian statues that flank the entrance gate to the temple are always known as the Nio-Mon regardless of the architectural style.

[Nio Guardian Deities]

The upper half of the body depicts their muscular naked form, on the lower half they wear robes with the hems raised, and in their hands they hold a Buddhist ritual weapon known as a vajra.

The one with the open mouth is known as A-gyo, and the one with the closed mouth is known as Un-gyo, both of which are the sounds issued depending on the shape of their mouths.

In esoteric Buddhism it is said that ‘A’ is the start of all things, and that everything in the world came from this. ‘Un’ represents the end and the virtue to which everything will return. These are also the start and end of the Japanese 50 sound syllabary. 

It is also said that as opposing guardians ‘A’ gives, and ‘Un’ receives.

Generally they have a dignified face and a strong physique, and people have faith in praying to them for good health. It is also believed that if one chews up a bit of tissue paper and aims for the part of the guardian’s body that one wants to cure or improve, should they hit it then that part will get better and stronger. Torn tissue paper covers the Nio guardians at Midama Fudouson. ※Currently throwing the paper is not permitted. 

Also the Nio guardians are supposed to support healthy legs so many straw sandals of different sizes have been left there as offerings.

[Holy Fire Walking (to pray for disaster prevention)]

This event is held in the temple grounds each year on November 3rd. One can see the Buddhist mountain monks up close as they cross the hot coals barefoot with their firm conviction. It is also possible for visitors to join in the firewalking ceremony, and in which case they should carefully follow the directions of the organizers.

Information

Midamafudouson Temple

Add9671 Akinari, Tsunan-machi, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata, 949-8313
Visiting PeriodAll year (Some parts will be closed over winter from December - April)
EntranceFree

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