Japanese dating rituals
The Hie (Hiyoshi) shrine rose to national importance in the 7th century when Emperor Tenji 天智 moved the capital to Outsu and invited the kami (Oumononushi no kami 大物主神) to act as the guardian deity of the new imperial residence. These three Kami are Omiya (大宮), Ninomiya (二宮), and Shōshinshi (聖真子). Tientai (天台山, literally “heavenly terraced mountain”). This name, moreover, is attributed to the mountain’s location below a three-star constellation north of the Big Dipper in Ursa Major.
The shrine and its affiliate shrines (about 3,800 nationwide today) then became intimately linked to the Tendai Buddhist sect at Mt. The ideograms for MOUNTAIN and KING both reflect the syncretism of the Tendai tradition and the importance of the number three in Tendai traditions. The three stars are known as the Three Terraces or Three Platforms (三台, Jp.
This all supports the notion (still contested) that the three-monkey motif originated in Japan in association with Mt. Monkey worship in Japan peaked in the Edo Era, and has declined significantly since then.
Even so, the legacy of monkey faith is easily spotted in modern Japan.
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At the Hie Shrine (Hie Jinja 日吉神社; also called Hiyoshi Taisha 日吉大社) on Mt.
By the time Buddhism reaches Japan (mid-6th century AD), the monkey and monkey lore are already common elements in Buddhist legend, art, and iconography in India, China, and mainland Asia (see Monkey Page Two). Sannō’s messenger (tsukai 使い) and avatar (gongen 権現) is the monkey.
Thereafter, monkey worship in Japan grows greatly in popularity, especially among practitioners of Taoist Kōshin rites introduced from China and among followers of Tendai Shintō-Buddhism, the latter centered around the syncretic Tendai shrine-temple multiplex located at Mt. Some scholars believe the famous three monkeys -- speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil -- originated in Japan in association with the Mt. The Sannō deity is broadly conceived, for Sannō actually represents three Buddhas (Shaka, Yakushi, and Amida), who in turn represent the three most important Shintō KAMI (deities) of Hie Shrine.
To the northeast is a conspicuous, twin-peaked mountain, Mt.
Hiei (corresponding to the Mountain trigram), which is crowned with a vast establishment of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to guard the Literally “Kami Monkey.” Masaru is the sacred monkey and protector of the Hie Shrine (aka Hie Jinja 日吉神社, Hiyoshi Taisha 日吉大社).
One can still find centuries-old stone statues with monkey motifs in many Japanese localities -- statues weathering away, unprotected from the elements, more than 300 years in age.