October 24, 2010

Yasaka-koshindo in Gion (Kyoto)

The Ko-shin-do is the shrine to Ko-shin-san or Shomen Kongo (blue face demon-god). Shomen Kongo is one of the Buddhist demon-gods with a blue face, hair standing on end and grasping a thunderbolt sword for destroying devils.

According to the Japanese folk belief of Ko-shin-machi, Shomen Kongo is believed to have miraculous powers for purifying our earthly desires, saving us from any agony and fulfilling our sincere wishes.

The see-not, hear-not, and speak-not monkeys are believed to be the spirit servants of this demon-god. The small colorful bags hung behind the three monkeys are called "Kukuri-zaru" (bound monkey) . The Kukuri-zaru symbolizes the binding or restriction of our lusts and earthy passions.

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