Temple 19: Tatsueji

Tatsueji can be roughly translated as “Standing Inlet Temple”. Not a smooth understanding and difficult to see how the name relates to the temple itself. This will need further inquiry. But, here you are! Let’s take a look at this temple that could have also been named, “It’s time to check yourself”.

There are a couple of interesting legends attached to this temple. The first is that of an escaped couple of lovers who disguised themselves as pilgrims tried to blend in to avoid their previous romantic partners. The woman went to ring the bell but suddenly her hair became wrapped up with the ropes that hold the mallet and her hair, along with her scalp were ripped off. You can go and see the gruesome artifact that is encased in glass if you like. Having had her head shorn, she and her companion, rededicated their lives to Buddhist service, where they did so at this temple to the end of their days.

The other legend involves that of a character named, Binzuru. Binzuru was one of the disciples of Buddha and was charged with the duty of expelling a troublesome spirit from the home of a rich man. Binzuru, was not a perfect man. He liked to drink, but as he had a job to do he was told not to imbibe anything. Binzuru went to the rich man’s home, performed his duty to expel the worrisome spirit, but then in celebration with the rich man had a few too many drinks. The spirit, seeing Binzuru thus impaired, returned to the house to create more havoc.

Binzuru was contrite for his misdeed and the Buddha forgave him in the end. But his punishment would continue on and Binzuru would not be allowed to enter Nirvana. Instead, he was told to serve his fellow man in this world. You will find images of Binzuru throughout the pilgrimage. He is the red-faced disciple on the temple grounds. Touch his body in accordance to your own of where you experience pain or discomfort. Binzuru is here for you, to help ease your pain, get you on your feet again.

Can you find the Binzuru in this temple?