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The History of Myoenji


霊峰比叡山の西南、松ヶ崎山の麓に位置する松崎山 妙円寺( 松ヶ崎大黒天 ) は、約 400 年前の江戸初期の元和 2 年 ( 1616 ) 、本覚院日英上人の開基・開創による日蓮宗寺院であります。

永仁 2 年 ( 1294 ) 日蓮聖人の法孫 ( ほうそん )、日像 ( にちぞう ) 上人によって法華経がひろめられ、徳治元年 ( 1306 ) に松ヶ崎全村が日蓮宗に改宗したという法華信仰の流れがあり、「松ヶ崎法華」とまで云われるようになりました。また教蔵院日生上人によって創立された、「根本の檀林」と云われる本涌寺「松ヶ崎檀林 ( 僧侶の学校 ) 」がこの近くに位置し、その本涌寺の能化 ( 教師 ) であった日英上人が建てた隠居所が当山の始まりです。


Myoenji temple (also known as Matsugasaki Daikokuten) is located at foot of Mt Matsugasaki, south-west of the sacred Mt Hiei. It is a temple of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism founded about 400 years ago in 1616 (Genna 2) in the early Edo Period by a Japanese-British Shonin (a buddhist monk) from Hongakuin. 

In 1294 (Einin era 2) Buddhist monk Nichiren Shonin’s grand disciple Nichizo Shonin spread and promoted the Lotus Sutra. Due to this, belief in the Lotus Sutra increased and by 1306 (Tokuji gannen) all villages in Matsugasaki had converted to the Nichiren sect and the area came to be known as ‘Matsugasaki Lotus Sutra’.

In addition, Honyuji Temple (a monk’s school called Matsugasaki Danrin) also known as Konpon no Danrin, which was founded by Kyozo-in Nissei Shonin, is located near Myoenji. The noge (teacher) of Honyuji Temple was a Japanese-British Shonin and the retreat built by him laid the foundations of Myoenji.

Daikokuten, enshrined in Daikoku-do inside Myoenji, is known as the first scared place of the Miyako shichifukujin (seven lucky gods of Kyoto) and believers visit from all over the country.


Okuribi (Farewell fire)

毎年 8 月 16 日の夜 8 時に点火される「五山の送り火」のうち、「妙法」は当山の背後、松ヶ崎山の両峰に点火されます。これは改宗の時、日像上人が自ら杖をもって松ヶ崎西山に「妙」の字を画かれ、のちに下鴨 大明寺 ( 現在は廃寺 ) の二祖、日良上人が東山に「法」の字を画かれたものであります。


Every year at 8pm on August 16th the ‘Gozan no Okuribi’ is lit. This is an annual festival in which five fires the shape of different kanji characters are lit on the mountains of Kyoto. Of the five fires that are lit, the character ‘Myoho’ behind Myoenji Temple, is lit on both peaks of the Matsugasaki Mountain. At the time of conversion to the Nichiren sect, it is said that Nichizo Shonin (Nichiren Shonin’s grand disciple) held a staff and drew the character ‘Myo’ on Matsugasaki’s west mountain (Nishiyama) and later an ancestor of Shimogamo Daimyoji Temple (currently an abandoned temple), Hira Shonin, drew the character ‘ho’ on Matsugasaki’s east mountain (Higashiyama).

The Okuribi are sacred fires that send off the spirits of the dead at the end of Obon (an annual Japanese holiday and festival that commemorates deceased ancestors). ‘Myoho’ Okuribi is one of these fires but is also the fire of the spirit and faith of Matsugasaki as well as the fire that spread and popularized ‘Myoho’ in the Nichiren sect.

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