immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)



(See Chapter Two, "Between Worlds: Akakura's Architecture of Potential Transformation," esp. pp. 58-65, 77-83)

I. Images In the Shinden (Inner Sanctuary): 

Votive painting of the Fudo waterfall, depicting a revelatory vision of the shrine founder. The founder, wearing a white pilgrim's cloak and headband, is performing mizu gyo (water austerities) while praying underneath the waterfall of Fudo.  To the right side of the waterfall stand three of her praying disciples, also attired in white pilgrim's robes.  Immediately above the pilgrims, on the right side of the waterfall, stands the mountain divinity Akakura Daigongen as an unkempt hairy young man, with wild eyes. Dressed in white, with bare feet, he holds two staffs in his right hand, one with a small white flag attached.  Above the waterfall in the lava field, two dragons peer out at each other from behind boulders, as if they are advancing toward one another. Higher still, the three peaks of Akakura are visible. 

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(Swirling dragon)

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(Detail: Akakura Daigongen)

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Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)