Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The Japanese god of the sword
This photograph was taken at the Osu kannon temple in Nagoya, Japan. This guy is called Fudo Myo-O ("the immutable one"), the Buddhist divinity of fire. Fudo is the principal deity of the five angry Lords of Light and serves as tutelary deity to many kamisama spirit mediums. He has intimate associations with the dragon divinity and with the waterfall of Fudo, one of the most important sites of mountain ascetic discipline (shugyo).
The term 'Myo-O' indicates that Fudo is one of the 'Wrathful Kings of Mystic Knowledge' Fudo Myo-O is also patron of the Martial Arts, and patron of all practitioners of mountain-centred ascetic mystic disciplines. He is known by his flaming sword and rope, with which he slashes away material connections and binds up evil-doers.
Furthermore, the sword itself cannot cut the rope; it requires thought and action on behalf of the wielder to do so. The wielder can thus use the sword for constructive or destructive purposes depending upon his intentions. His eyes are looking in opposite directions: one being in the corporal world and the other in the spiritual world.
And you thought George Lucas made that stuff about the "dark side" up all on his own?