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The Shitenno

Note: This selection of Words-and-Pictures was made on November 12, 2001, as I visited Japan's Shikoku Pilgrimage.

The Shitenno are located at Yashimaji, Temple #84 of Shikoku's famous 88 Temple Pilgrimage. You can read more about my visit there in my Logbook.

At Yashimaji, Temple Number 84 of the Shikoku 88, there is a second gate between the Niomon (Two Kings Gate) and the hondo (main hall). This is a Four Heavenly Kings Gate, or more accurately, a four generals gate. They are the guardians of the four directions.

The gate has four "bays," two front and two back (as do most Two Kings gates). Under each picture below, I tell which bay the figure was found in; "left" and "right" mean when facing the front, so the characters were shot counterclockwise beginning in the right rear of the gate.

Name: Tamonten (多門天) or Bishamonten (毘沙門天)
  • Position: Back right
  • Direction: North
  • Color: Blue
  • Task: Listens to prayers; protects holy places
  • Symbol: Treasure (pagoda) and weapon (spear or club)

Name: Komokuten (広目天)
  • Position: Back left
  • Direction: West
  • Color: Red
  • Task: Sees through evil
  • Symbol: Writing brush and scroll

Name: Zochoten (増長天)
  • Position: Front left
  • Direction: South
  • Color: White
  • Task: Relieves people of suffering
  • Symbol: Spear

Name: Jikokuten (持国天)
  • Position: Front right
  • Direction: East
  • Color: Green
  • Task: Maintains the world
  • Symbol: Sword

Posted October 15, 2019

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