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Mongaku 文覚 Priest Mongaku

遠藤盛遠 Endo Morito, c. 1120 – 1200

source : ameblo.jp/hanacat0322
Mongaku by Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 

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7-31, Zaimokuza 6-chome, Kamakura, Kanagawa 247-0013

Founding priest Mongaku was originally a samurai, Morito Endo by name, in Kyoto serving the Imperial Guards in the late 12th century. He fell in love with a married woman named Kesa. She was so beautiful and charming that he wanted to marry her by all means and proposed to her. His proposal was too persistent for her to decline. Kesa finally replied to him that she would marry him if he could kill her husband, and suggested to him that he visit Kesa's house at one designated night when the couple are asleep. Following her suggestion, Morito broke into her house the night. The person he killed, however, was not the husband but Kesa herself. Kesa had given him wrong advise by design and was in bed in disguise of her husband. She had preferred death to bigamy. Morito immediately took the tonsure for atonement and entered Jingoji in Kyoto, changing the name to Mongaku.

. . . Back at the time, Jingoji's fortune was on the wane with no patron. Priest Mongaku tried to meet with Retired Emperor Goshirakawa (1127-1192) to ask for financial aids. Goshirakawa gave him a flat refusal and did not even meet him. Outraged, Priest Mongaku snarled at the imperial court people with violence. As a result, he was exiled to the Izu Peninsula, where he got acquainted by chance with young Yoritomo Minamoto, the founder of the Temple and Kamakura Shogunate,

Priest Mongaku is said to have been the first aide for Yoritomo and helped re-organize the Minamoto ally. He urged Yoritomo to raise an army against the Taira Clan, Minamoto's arch-rival enemy, showing his father's skull. (His father was brutally killed by the Tairas). The Priest's persuasion encouraged Yoritomo to rise up against the Tairas and eventually led him to unify Japan. To reward him for his contribution, Yoritomo accepted his request to found the Temple. Naturally, the Temple served as a prayer hall for Yoritomo himself. Priest Mongaku's saga often appears in the ancient stories and was dramatized into Kabuki and Noh play.

source : MFA Boston

Fudo Myo-o, the Immovable, or Acala-vidyaraja in Skt.
This statue was reportedly made to force the Tairas surrender through invocation. The ritual was performed in front of this statue to conjure away the enemy. As the saying "Curses, like chickens, come home to roost" goes, so did Priest Mongaku's curse. He had to die an unnatural death several years later.
A Fudo Myo-o statue at NNM.

. . . Mongaku's tomb and slug festival
Priest Mongaku is reported to have been exiled to Sado island off the coast of Niigata Prefecture after Yoritomo's death. His whereabout afterward is unknown. One of his tombs is located in Gifu Prefecture, where legend asserts he died on his way from Sado back to Daiitokuji in Gifu, the temple he erected. Near the temple is his tomb, or a stone monument for him. A strange festival takes place here on July 9 (of lunar calendar) every year the day Kesa was slain by Morito. It is believed among villagers that on this day, score of slugs, all having a black line on their back, mysteriously gather here and crawl up the tomb stone. Locals believe that the slugs are transformation of Kesa and the black lines of the slugs are the scar made by Morito's sword. Kesa must have appeared before Morito in adoration of his success (some say in curse of his cruel behavior). At least two authors novelized the story relating to Kesa and Morito: Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) and Kan Kikuchi (1888-1948).
- source : www.asahi-net.or.jp

. Fudō Myōō 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O
- Acala Vidyârâja - Vidyaraja .


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Ichiyusai KUNIYOSHI (1797 – 1861)
A fine and very rare vertical triptych of Mongaku ( Endo Morito, c. 1120 – 1200 ) subjecting himself to three years penance as a Buddhist monk beneath the waterfall of Mount Nachi in Kii Province. Morito inflicted this punishment on himself because he had inadvertently cut off the head of Kesa Gozen, the wife of the palace guard Watanabe Wataru, with whom he was in love.

At the top of the design is Fudo Myo-o, the guardian deity of waterfalls, and at the bottom and top right are Seitaka and Kongara ( doji of Fudo ). This subject lends itself to some wonderful designs: See this website for a rare horizontal triptych by Yoshitoshi , and there are many single sheets by various artists. The vertical triptych format is rare: It was more convenient to view prints in the horizontal and it was difficult to insert into albums, the top sheets having to be heavily trimmed to fit.
- source : www.japaneseprints-london.com


The Story of the Priest Mongaku and the God Fudo

. Tomita Keisen 富田渓仙 (1879-1936) .


- - - - - H A I K U - - - - -

MONGAKU, Priest Mongaku 文覚(もんがく)
July 20. 保延5年(1139年) - 建仁3年7月21日(1203年8月29日)

Mongaku Ki 文覚忌 (もんがくき) Mongaku Memorial Day
Moritoo Ki 盛遠忌(もりとおき)Moritoo Memorial Day

. Memorial Days of Famous People - Autumn Kigo .

hiyamugi kuu zoo wa Mongaku no gyoo ni samo nitari

the monk who eats
chilled wheat noodles resembles
priest Mongaku in his asceticism . . .

. Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 .

Hiyamugi 冷麦 (ひやむぎ) Wheat noodles chilled
on ice and served with a dipping sauce
hiyashi mugi 冷し麦(ひやしむぎ)
kirimugi 切麦(きりむぎ)
. WKD - kigo for all summer .


- Reference - 文覚 -

- Reference - English -


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Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Mount Adatara (安達太良山 Adatara-yama)

Endoogataki Fudoo son 遠藤ヶ滝不動尊
Fudo at the waterfall Endogataki

The statue is in memory of the story of the Adachi Samurai 遠藤盛遠 Endo Morito.
Endo fell in love with 袈裟御前, but the love was not fullfilled. So he became a priest and took the name of Mongaku 文覚.
He often took ablutions for his sin under the waterfall, which eventually was named after him - 遠藤ヶ滝 Endogataki - Endo Waterfall.

Gabi Greve said...

文覚 six legends to explore !
Niigata 佐渡市 Sado city 畑野町 Hatano town
At the pond in Okubo in Hatano town 文覚上人 Saint Mongaku had performed water ablutions. The pond was sacred and no women were allowed in it. Children were forbidden to pee near the pond. If they did, they would get a stomach ache.