Oiwasan Nisseki-ji – Meditation under the waterfalls in Toyama

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According to the history of the temple reported by the monks, Oiwasan Nisseki-ji would have existed for nearly 1,300 years with a foundation dated in 725. Destroyed by flames about 500 years ago, it was rehabilitated by Lord Maeda of the governor of Kaga Domain from Kanazawa City. Indeed, the latter financed the reconstruction of Nisseki-ji as a thank you because his wish to obtain heirs had come true.

Oiwasan Nisseki-ji (Toyama), statue of Jizo Bosatsu and other Buddhist representations

A fascinating stone engraving by Fudo Myoo

The main building of Oiwasan Nisseki-ji has the particularity of leaning directly against the rock which serves as a natural wall for the interior room. Plunged into darkness, we find ourselves faced with a impressive performance by Fudo Myoo (or Acala), carved out of the stone and 3 meters high.

Symbol of immutability in Japanese Buddhism, Fudo Myoo is one of the 5 kings of wisdom. His angry look drives out demons and with his sword; he cuts the bonds of karma so that men can detach themselves from their evil inclinations.

In order to serve his worship, ceremonies of purification by fire 🔥 baptized Goma are regularly organized by the monks of the temple. Wooden plaques on which the faithful have written wishes or prayers are notably burned during this ritual.

It is also possible to participate in a session of shabutsua Buddhist imagery meditation exercise. At Nisseki-ji, this consists of redrawing, in calm and silence, the features of a pre-drawn representation of Fudo Myoo.

Oiwasan Nisseki-ji (Toyama), rock-cut statue of Fudo Myoo

Water purification

Another specificity of the spiritual site is its outdoor space dedicated to outdoor meditation. In addition to the purifying fire, the clear mountain water that flows here in abundance also serves as a natural element of purification. We thus devote ourselves to a spiritual training which consists in meditate under 6 cold waterfallswhere each cascade symbolizes:

  • a primordial element in Buddhism: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space (or emptiness) and Spirit (or consciousness);
  • and a part of the body to be purified: the eyes, the nose, the ears, the mouth, the neck and the torso, then the whole body.

At least 2 Sundays a month, it is possible to see women and men in white clothes practicing this spiritual exercise which is open to all and by prior reservation.

Oiwasan Nisseki-ji (Toyama), temple Dainichido hexagonal pavilion

A set of Buddhist pavilions in the forest

Oiwasan Nisseki-ji also features several pavilions nestled in the forest that are worth a look, including:

  • The Sanjunoto three story pagoda which dates from 1845 and stands as the last such model in the Toyama area. Due to a lack of time and resources, its construction was in fact never completely finished and its absent exterior facades reveal the central pillar 15 meters high which supports the entire building.
  • The little akaku kutsu cave which dates from the end of the 19th century and is linked to a protection set up by the great Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi (774 – 835) in order to fight against a great epidemic which occurred around 818. Inside it, we find a talisman that helps drive away bad luck for people who are going through difficult times. Another small altar reveals a splendid colored wooden sculpture of Bosatsu Jizo, the protector of children and travelers.
  • Behind the waterfalls, we discover the building of the Aizen-do which houses a small statue of Aizen Myoo, another Myo-o entity. Represented with the body colored red, seated on a lotus and surrounded by flames, Aizen Myoo is the king of passion and love. With his bow and arrow, he is reminiscent of Cupid in Roman mythology.

Out of the city, in the heart of a mountain forest and not far from the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the spiritual site is aimed at visitors interested in Buddhist worship in Japan and its specific practices.

This article was produced as part of a stay organized and financed by the metropolitan government of Tokyo for the promotion of the destination #HOKURIKUĂ—TOKYO. Kanpai was invited and guided but retains complete freedom in its editorial publication.

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Oiwasan Nisseki-ji – Meditation under the waterfalls in Toyama

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