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Monday, January 10, 2011

Umarokya



Umarokya (烏摩勒伽), which I think one of the Buddhist Guardians, is one of the four Guardians at Yashamon Gate (夜叉門) of Taiyuin (大猷院) at the World Heritage site in Nikko city, Tochigi Prefecture. Taiyuin is a Buddhist temple at which the 3rd Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu Tokugawa (徳川家光) is worshipped.

This scary macho guy in the photo has curly orange hair, sharp fangs, an arrow in his right hand, and an edgy sword in the left one. Also note that he has elephant heads for knee pads, which is scary enough to guess his height!!!

At shrines, you can see a wooden arrow called Hamaya (破魔矢: literally "demon breaking arrow"). Actually the arrow that he is holding in his right hand is the origin of Hamaya! Yes, that Shinto military weapon comes from Buddhism! Well, back in the old days, there weren't any such distinctions between the two religions in Japan.

At Taiyuin when you proceed from Yashamon Gate, you will find a Haiden Oratory (拝殿) where you get a lecture in Japanese only (sorry for the inconvenience for you guys). At the end of the lecture delivered by Buddhist monk there, you are encouraged to buy Hamaya made of metal. It's a Taiyuin original, which is cool. I think that this is a very smart strategy because by the time the lecture is over (15 min or so), I am sure that your legs are too numb to stand up for a while. Then you are surrounded by Buddhist monks, giving you a big smile, with expensive Hamaya Arrows in their right hands. Just like the blue Umarokya statue in this picture (but not a real sharp sword in their left hands)! I bed you that they will do their best to sell. Maybe they speak to you in English or your native language:)))


Part 2 of Buddha guardian series is "Bidara"(毘陀羅)

Hi my name is Bidara. Please click on me to get me the hell out of this tiny frame.


This is a Blue Monday and That's my world entry.


           

16 comments:

  1. Supper photo and a wonderful essay. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River.

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  2. He does look menacing enough without those weapons in his hands.

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  3. Scary macho indeed! :-) Beautiful subject and colours.

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  4. The colors are wonderfully vivid in this shot!

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  5. What a colorful picture! Wonderful!
    That guy is really scary :)

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  6. Beautiful photo. I like the strong colours.

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  7. How fierce!

    Happy Blue Monday, Yoshi.

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  8. I think that behind those statues there are hidden a lot of stories and powerful thoughts!
    Like everywhere in your country!
    Have my best wishes from Romania!

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  9. and yet, he is wearing such a pretty outfit!

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  10. Great shot of a fierce-looking guardian!

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  11. He is a fierce looking guardian and you can be sure that I wouldn't want to get in his way!! Terrific capture, a very interesting post and a marvelous look at your world, Yoshi! I do so enjoy your photos from Japan as I worked, until I retired, at Komatsu in Oregon. I studied Japanese and really enjoyed my interaction with the many engineers/company officers that visited the facility in it's beginning. Unfortunately, the Japanese financial problems in 1999 ended the venture in the states. Hope you have a wonderful week!

    Sylvia

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  12. how beautifully you captured this statue. so colorful.

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  13. That certainly is an intimidating character. Glad you pointed out the unique elephant kneepads or I would have missed it. Seems like historical and religious organizations world over need funds and are apt to be selling something to visitors. I might have come home with an “arrow” whether I needed it or not. :)

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  14. My Grandson has "orange hair" but is not nearly so scary! You gave a great lesson about Umarokya.

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  15. Wondeful picture and a very interesting article.

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