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Tomorrow, 15th June, marks the nativity commemoration of Kōbō-Daishi or also known as ‘The Green Foliage Festival (of the) Sect Founder, Kōbō-Daishi’s Nativity Assembly’ (J: 青葉まつり宗祖弘法大師降誕会 / Aoba Matsuri Shūso Kōbō Daishi Gōtan E).
Born in 774 A.D, in the household of the aristocratic Saeki, from the ancient Ōtomo Clan to parents Lady Tamayori Gozen and Saeki no Atai Tagimi, he was known as ‘Tōtomono’ (Precious Child) or ‘Mao’ (True Fish).
The beloved image of Kōbō-Daishi as Chigo Daishi, 'Young Great Master' (J:稚児大師).
Typically. he is depicted as a cherubic & stout child kneeling on an opened eight petaled lotus calyx in seiza position and clasped hands in gasshō (J: 正座), garbed in court attire of the hakama (J: 袴) & kosode (J: 小袖); with silken black long hair & facial adornments.
It's said that this is how he oft dreamed of himself in dialogues with the Buddhas when he was around 5-6 years old; as found in narratives of works like the 31 Volume Konjaku Monogatarishū, 'Anthology of Tales from the Past' (J: 今昔物語集) from the late Heian Period. Earliest paintings extant are said to be from the 13th Century as found in Hyōgo Prefecture's Kōsetsu Museum & Kyōto's famed Daigoji (J: 醍醐寺).
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Great photos, thank you. Are you there now? I've only attended the event one year but thought it was fun. I enjoy the small town dynamic of Mt. Koyasan.
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