Aizen Myoo (Ragaraja) (愛染明王)

Aizen Myoo (Ragaraja) is one of the Myoos (king of wisdom), being worshipped in Buddhism and having venerable status specific to Mikkyo (Esoteric Buddhism). Having a Sanskrit name, Ragaraja, which is not seen in Buddhist sutras such as those of India, is a Funnu-son--a deity with a fierce expression (忿怒尊)--whose works are not found in India either.

Features of the statue and faith for Aizen Myoo

One of the reasons living things do not believe in Buddhism is that 'they are fascinated by temporal pleasures such as bonno (earthly desires) and sexual desire,' but Aizen Myoo practices pious acts because 'bonno and sexual desire are human's instincts that are difficult to cease, so that I change these instincts into ambitions and make living things believe in Buddhism.'

Aizen Myoo has one face and six arms with Funnu-so (an angry expression found on Buddhist images just like other Myoos), and it has highly distinctive features such as a lion's crown, which symbolizes the strength to bear any problem, as well as a seated lotus position on a lotus flower blossoms in a hobyo (a flower vase), which is filled with wisdom.

Because it was originally a god to express love, the body color is red and it is often depicted with a luminous halo.

Additionally, there exists a figure of Aizen Myoo that draws a bow toward Heaven (such as 'the statue of Aizen Myoo with celestial bow' at Mt. Koya) and pictures on which different features are drawn, such as two heads.

It has a third eye on the forehead, and some people say this depicts female genitalia. However, the reason for that view is not known and it is uncertain whether it is true.

Aizen Myoo has been worshipped since ancient times as a Buddha that controls 'love, marriage and household harmony,' as its name shows; moreover, it has been worshipped as a guardian deity of dye and textile manufacturers by interpreting 'Aizen(愛染) as Aizen (藍染), or indigo.'
Moreover, because it does not deny sexual desire, it was worshipped by prostitutes in ancient times and is worshipped by women of the present day who work in the nighttime entertainment industry.

Aizen Myoo is also depicted in pictures of the Mandala, a principal image of the Nichiren sects, facing Fudo Myoo; and it has been written in Sanskrit since Nichiren through the ages because it has a venerable status of Mikkyo transmitted by Kukai. Moreover, it is said that Fudo Myoo in the Mandala of Nichiren sects shows the idea that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana while Aizen Myoo shows the idea that earthly desires are a pure aspiration to enlightenment.

The origin of Aizen Myoo

The theoretical origin of Aizen Myoo is not known, but judging from one of the mantras of Aizen Myoo, 'Fun Takki Fun Jaha Fun,' it seems related to Takkiraja (Kama Raja (カーマ・ラージャ)), the tenth Funnu-son in the latter stage of Mikkyo. It is said that the word "takki" means love or death, but the exact origin of the word is not known. There is a theory that Takki originates from Dakini (ダーキニー) (Dakiniten). Dakini is often considered to be a witch, and therefore Takkiraja could be translated as the king of witches in Japanese. Alternatively, Takki might be a lost god or a slang term.

A god of love, Kama (カーマ)(Mara) with a bow.

Kama is a goddess of love who was burned to death because she released an arrow against Shiva during ascetic practices. The goddess Kama, which is also called Mara, seduced Buddha. Mara has a daughter named Raga.

For details, see the article on Kama (Hinduism).

The supreme god with a bow in Heaven, Mara (Take-jizai-ten, or the heaven where one can partake of the pleasures created in other heavens).

Mara is the supreme god who lives in the sixth heaven, which is also called Take-jizai-ten (the heaven where one can partake of the pleasures created in other heavens) or the sixth tenmao (devil). For details, see the article on Tenma.
(Kama is the supreme god in Heaven, but please note that there are more worlds over heaven in Buddhism.)
Take-jizai-ten is expressed as a figure with a bow, and it is a god that controls everything in this world at will, makes others enjoy and enjoys by itself. From the other perspective, it is a god and a seducer that makes a person feel happy. It is said that Dainichinyorai preached at the palace of Take-jizai-ten. Aizen Myoo could be said to be a god that changed the viewpoint against love and mastered it.

Kongoai Bosatsu, with a bow in the four major bosatsus, and Aizen Myoo.

It seems that Kongoai Bosatsu is the nearest as a venerable status and was incorporated from a god who drew a bow of love or a god of love with a bow; it is interpreted as a Bosatsu in Mikkyo so that its Funnu-son corresponds to Aizen Myoo.

Temples that enshrine Aizen Myoo

Although Aizen Myoo is often enshrined as an attendant, there are examples in which it is enshrined as the principal image, as follows:

Temples that enshrine Aizen Myoo as the principal image

Aizen-do (Shoman-in Temple) (Tennoji Ward, Osaka City) - one of the four halls of Shitenno-ji Temple built by Prince Shotoku
The first Fudasho, a temple that issues amulets, of Saigoku Aizen Reijo (holy grounds related to Aizen Myoo in the western districts of Japan) (西国愛染霊場).

Kongosanmai-in Temple (Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture) - the temple related to Masako HOJO. It enshrines Aizen Myoo, which was Nenjibutsu (a Buddhist image that is kept in close proximity for personal daily worship) of MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. The principal image is a national important cultural property.

Shana-in Temple (Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture) - the principal image is made in the Kamakura period and a national important cultural property. It is said that it was consecrated by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI.

Aizen-in Temple (Nerima Ward, Tokyo) - the principal image is the statue of Aizen Myoo, which is a Buddhist image not usually shown to the public.

Komyosan Aizen-in Temple (光明山愛染院) (Itabashi Ward, Tokyo) - worshipped by local dye manufacturers

Other representative temples that enshrine Aizen Myoo

Saidai-ji Temple (Nara City, Nara Prefecture): This statue of Aizen Myoo (an important cultural property) was made by Zenen. It is placed at Aizen Hall, which was formerly Konoe-ko Mandokoro Goten(近衛公政所御殿) in Kyoto Imperial Palace but was relocated there.

Jingo-ji Temple (Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City) - the statue of Aizen Myoo (an important cultural property) was made by Koen, who was a busshi.

Jindo-ji Temple (Yamashiro-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto Prefecture) - the statue of Aizen Myoo with celestial bow

A statue in the Nara National Museum - the statue of Aizen Myoo (an important cultural property) was made byKaisei, a busshi in the Kamakura period.

Kakuon-ji Temple (Nikaido, Kamakura City) - the seated statue of Aizen Myoo at Aizen Hall was made during the latter part of the Kamakura period.

[Original Japanese]