Garanjin (伽藍神)

Garanjin is a deity that guards temples and shrines. It is also referred to as Gogaranjin, Shugogaranjin, and Jishin. A hall in which Garanjin is enshrined is referred to as Garan-do.

In terms of guarding Garan (Buddhist temples), Chinju (local Shinto deity) can be also considered one of the Garanjin, but 'Garanjin' generally refers to a statue in the shape of a Taoism deity enshrined in a Buddhist sanctum of a temple of the Zen sect or the like. In Japan, influenced by Buddhism in the Sung period, China, this type of statue started to be produced and enshrined in the mid Kamakura period. In temples in China (Sung), the Taoism deities were enshrined in Dojido (hall of the guardian deity), and it was conveyed to Japan. In addition to temples of the Zen sect, Garanjin is enshrined in temples and shrines greatly influenced by Sung Buddhism, such as Senyu-ji Temple of the Shingon sect (Kyoto City) and its branch temple, Kakuon-ji Temple.

In many cases, several Garanjin are enshrined together in a corner of a Buddhist sanctum or the like. Many of the statues are standing or sitting in various clothes and poses with various expressions, and many of them wear a Chinese Taoism costume and a crown.

[Original Japanese]