Number 9Senpuku-ji temple
History of the temple
The history of Senpuku-ji temple starts in year 607, when Prince Shōtoku (574-622), a famous politician and promoter of Buddhism, after receiving a divine message, carved a 150 cm (4.92 ft) high statue of Jūichimen Kannon (Eleven-Faced Kannon) and build a hall on the Mount Muryō to enshrine her. The temple started to prosper and gained many followers after a monk named Taichō (682-767) visited its grounds and built seven more buildings.
In the end of 10th Century (middle of Heian period) ex-Emperor Kazan (968-1008), who devoted himself to Buddhism and revived the practice of Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, visited Senpuku-ji during his religious travel. He saw a strange light coming from the mountain and thought of it as a good omen. He then decided to confine himself in Senpuku-ji temple and pray for masses, so they would be led to the path of enlightenment. After 17 days of prayer he had a divine revelation from Goddess Kannon. She said that in the West from the temple, at the Mount Yaki in Kumano, a group of bandits cause great harm to the pilgrims heading to Ise region. She then promised to protect and lead the pilgrims, save them from calamities, eliminate the bandits and fulfill people’s prayers and wishes. From this day on Senpuku-ji’s Kannon is known as Leading Kannon (Tebiki Kannon).
In 1171 ex-Emperor Goshirakawa (1127-1192) also confined himself in Senpuku-ji temple to pray, during his Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.
Between 1512 and 1528 Senpuku-ji became a prayer place for Kitabatake clan – the governors of the province. The temple greatly suffered during years of 1558-1570, in the end to turn into ashes. Luckily the main statue survived unharmed and to this day this Kannon is widely known for bestowing great mercy and wellness on the people. Hence there are many visitors praying at this temple.
Senpuku-ji is also a temple number 76 of Mie Shikoku 88 kasho Pilgrimage.
Shingon Yamashina branch