"As a friend who prays for world peace from the sacred home of the Shingon sect..."
"Our sliding doors are decorated with the unique Unissograff designs 'Shingon Shōmyō Symphony' and 'Koyasan Children Future Map'; collages of drawings made by children from Koya and around the world that depict the everyday world illuminated by Dainichi Nyorai, the principal deity of the Shingon Buddhist sect. As a symbol of our temple 'shukubo' lodgings, where we send prayers of peace to the world, these designs are admired by all that come here, not just from within Japan but from the world over.
My own children's drawings are incorporated into these designs. And then they became our own exclusive family wear. Sublime art that also shines a light on family love and happiness. Such a wonderful idea."
SESSHU KONDO (JAPAN) / Chief Priest at the Koyasan Ekoin Temple
* The hoodies that Sesshu-san and his children are wearing in these photographs were designed especially for them, and are available for purchase through the links below.
The founder of Unissograff, ca37, first visited our temple in the summer of 2018.
The occasion arose through an introduction from Mr Sochoku Uehara, a master of the Samurai tea ceremony with close ties to our temple, and the dedication of a Unissograff designed folding screen.
The title of that folding screen was "Gekkoh-shoh" (Moonlight Whispers), and it was explained to us that it was based on the piece "Vocalise" composed by Rachmaninoff.
The real surprise, and deep impression, was yet to come, however…
"This artwork is a collage of drawings and landscape paintings made by children who live in the Tohoku area of Japan that was devasted by the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, of their hometowns which are now no longer".
Really? I though for a moment that I had misheard.
"There are children's drawings in this?", I asked somewhat abruptly.
"That's right. Unissograff represents the hopes and prayers for peace and their hometowns of children who live in disaster-struck or conflict-ridden and impoverished areas, turned into pictures. Moreover, 20% of the net proceeds from this art is donated to NPOs that work to support the survival and education of those children who made the drawings".
Such high quality paintings as these from children's drawings? I had never heard of such an art style.
And then, in May of 2019, our temple lodgings were donated with a sliding door decorated with a design based on Shingon Buddhism, and that spreads out across 4 frames and 8 panels (both sides of the sliding door). It is even very popular with guests that come to stay with us from Europe and the United States.
Our temple is a timeless and universal haven, a place that serves as a bedrock for all people, and their prayers for harmony. Precisely because of that, our prayers for world peace transcend borders, ethnicity and cultures. ca37 and Unissograff are so very closely aligned with such ideals, and I offer my full support.
The hoodie I'm wearing uses the "Shingon Shōmyō Symphony" artwork design. My daughters wear tops that feature an original design that collages their own drawings with the painted footprints taken from Ugandan children's folk dances.
View the Ekoin design products:
Original design for UNISSOGRAFF Hoodie For UGANDA/CAMBODIA/TOHOKU
Original design for UNISSOGRAFF custom Hoodies For UGANDA/CAMBODIA/TOHOKU (Ekoin)
<History of Mt Koya Ekoin Temple>
The founder of the Shingon sect, Kukai, built five pagodas in this area which his disciple, the priest Dosho, used for performing go-eko ("eko" meaning "Transference of Merit" and referring to a memorial service for one's ancestors) ceremonies for the people. The temple was originally named Eko-in after this fact ("in" meaning temple).
Later, sometime during the Hoei period (1704~), it was renamed to the current "Ekoin" (with different kanji characters translating to 'temple of the light of wisdom') by order of the Tokugawa Daihachi Shogun general, Koh Yoshimune.
In the first year of the Enkyo period (1308) the high priesthood (Ryo-cho Ajari) was transferred here from the Toji temple in Kyoto and restored, and at the beginning of the Eiroku period (1558~) developed close ties with Yoshihiro Shimazu Hyogo, the 17th head of the Satsuma Domain.
It is also the family temple of Akechi Mitsuhide, a Japanese samurai general of the Sengoku period best known as the assassin of Oda Nobunaga.
On the plateau overlooking the temple grounds sits the main hall, wherein the principal deities of Amida Nyorai, Kobo Daishi and Fudo Myo are enshrined.
Additionally, the Bishamon hall houses the principal image of Bishamonten (the guardian god also known as Vaisravana), which is said to have been created by Daishi.
Fudo Myo, sitting next to it, is also known as "Helmsman Fudo" for having ensured the safe passage of Daishi when he travelled across China.
<Watch Homa prayer rituals at the Ekoin temple on YOUTUBE>
WEBSITE / https://www.ekoin.jp/en/ (English language)
FACEBOOK / https://www.facebook.com/ekoin.jp
INSTAGRAM / koyasan_ekoin_temple