天台宗 大聖院常楽寺 熊本県上益城郡益城町小池3811

飯田山 常楽寺

The Origin of Daishouin Jyouraku-ji (Jyouraku Temple) in Mt. Iida (Tendai Buddhist Denomination)

This temple was founded by Lord Nichira who was from Kutaragi village, Ashikita (currently Yatsushiro City).His father, Mr. Arishito (a descendent from Paekche, Korea), governed the Ashikita area at that time.Lord Nichira became a shogun in Paekche, but returned to Japan in July, 583 AD after repeated invitations from the Emperor Bitatsu.
According to The Chronicles of Japan, he was asked to counsel the Emperor about methods of peaceful Japanese defense.However, Lord Nichira was assassinated by one of his own servants on December 30th in the same year, 583 AD.He died in his early 80s.
Following his death, the peaceful suggestions he offered to the Emperor became national policies.This lead to the origin of Jyouraku Temple, a temple sacred to the memory of Lord Nichira.
According to the history book of Buddhism and its priesthood, Genkoushakusho, there was a monk named Shunjyou at the Jyouraku Temple during the Kamakura period.He was from Amagi, Mifune Town, Kumamoto.In 1199, he went to Sou (in what is now China) and trained himself in Buddhist practices for thirteen years.After returning to Japan, he dedicated himself to the restoration of ‘Senyu Temple,’ the Imperial Family’s bodhisattva temple in Kyoto.
In the Edo period, one of the feudal lords from the Hosokawa family designated Jyouraku Temple for generations of people, who went there to pray for national peace and security.At this temple, you can see a framed work of Japanese script ‘福聚海 : Fukujyukai,’ (“celebrating grand happiness as great as the sea”). This was engraved by the ninth feudal lord Naritatsu Hosokawa, who died at the age of 30.
In the height of its prosperity, there were more than three hundred learned monks who lived in ‘bou,’ or living quarters around this area.Some of the quarters were called Kita no bou, Zaren bou, Furenji bou, Tou no o, Terayashiki, etc. and their historic ruins remain to this day in Mt. Iida.There was a ‘temple town in the sky’ at the base of the stone steps which lead to Jyoraku Temple.

Also, the Tsuchiyama district at the foot of Mt. Iida was a production location for the tiles used in Kumamoto Castle’s construction.Good clay for tiles was found in the area, and the pine trees on Mt. Iida were used as fuel for firing the tiles.The history of Tsuchiyama’s tile-production came to an end in 1989.The last method used was Daruma-gama, a traditional technique in which pine trees are put into the kiln, coating the surface of the tiles with carbon so that the tiles become an oxidized silver color.This was done by Sumiho Fukuda.

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