Makurazaki City –A Southern Town
Makurazaki is a traditional small town located along the southern coast of Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost large island. It has some of the most beautiful scenery in Japan, including the historic Mt. Kaimon, Hinokami (“God of Fire”) Cape, and stunning views of the sunrise/sunset along the East China Sea. It is also very well known for its fishery industry. Katsuo, a type of skipjack tuna, is caught here and processed at factories throughout the city.
“International” Daikokuji Temple (Shingon Esoteric Buddhist Temple)
Koyasan-shingon-shu Kunimiyama-Daikokuji is located on the higher landscape of Mt. Kunimi, where people can witness the natural shaka-nehan (The Sakya Nirvana). Kunimiyama-daikokuji’s nirvana is located on top of the Ryu-mon, (“dragon gate”) which is Buddhism’s guardian. This is the world of Buddha; delusionless, disentangled from desires, and a world better known as “heaven”. As such, Daikokuji is where one conducts deep spiritual practices to understand how to grasp spiritual awakening, become a Buddha, and bring oneself to the pure land without reincarnation. One will find Daikokuji very unique for a traditional Japanese Buddhist temple as it has been actively expanding its teachings outside Japan for the past several years. It has established a series of overseas branches in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Australia and Korea, among other countries. Such expansion is intended to achieve world peace by presenting Shingon Esoteric Buddhism in a way that no other temple in the country has ever achieved.
A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience
Here, more than 600 people have successfully completed tokudo (entering the religion)ordination. Besides those who will become monks/priests, members of the general public also receive this ordination hoping to acquire normal and peaceful lives. This is achieved through a strong awareness that the Buddha is watching over their lives. Life, as we all know, brings countless adversities that are too difficult to overcome alone. Once you achieve tokudo at Daikokuji, the Buddha will help you solve these problems, particularly during those very difficult times that could potentially prevent you from achieving a peaceful and normal life. This is accomplished through practicing and receiving mentorship from experienced mentors at the dojo (practicing facility) inside the temple. Therefore, by achieving tokudo ordination, you will gain prajna (wisdom of life) that will enable you to handle life much easier.
Inside The Temple
Inside the temple you will encounter several interesting things; one is a miniature Nansatsu Hachijuhachikasho holy ground, where visitors can be blessed with the power of the Buddha equivalent to visiting the historically well known “88 holy grounds of Shikoku region” in Japan. Toward the east you can see Mt. Kaimon, where one can witness the sunrise, and toward the west you can see the Shaka-Nehan along the stunningly beautiful Hinokami Cape where the sun sets; a brilliant place for the Buddha. Furthermore, there is a spiritual power here. This place is particularly well known for holding prayers for everything from new babies and house purchases to exorcisms and blessings for vehicles and business ventures.
It is also famous for general memorial services, a place for zen meditation, as well as a temple for any consultation. With the prefecture’s largest 3 buddhas (Dainichi kannon, hakuryu-kannon, and kobo-daishi), along with over a hundred other buddhas, visitors can be eased from their pains. Daikokuji welcomes a group of visitors for a 1-3 day practice experience with the guidance of professional monks, including an English-speaking guide. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will prove beneficial. I highly encourage all to come regardless of religious background.