Godai Myoo, the Five Great Myoo (五大明王)

Godai Myoo (the five great Myoo) is a subject of faith in Buddhism and a combination of the five Myoo, which play a central role among Myoo, an honorific entity, which is specific to Mikkyo Esoteric Buddhism. Myoo, which were originally produced as independent honorific entities, are arranged around Fudo Myoo.


In images such as statues and pictures, often Fudo Myoo is placed in the center, Gozanze Myoo at the east, Gundari Myoo at the south, Daiitoku Myoo at the west and Kongoyasha Myoo at the north. Moreover, this arrangement is seen in Mikkyo (Tomitsu), which has been transmitted in the Shingon sect, but in the other Mikkyo (Daimitsu), which has been transmitted in the Tendai sect, Ususama Myoo is included in Godai Myoo instead of Kongoyasha Myoo.

Statues of the Godai Myoo were actively produced in Japan, while in China a few works were made. In Japan, Mikkyo was very popular during the first stage of the Heian period, and Godai Myoo was enshrined as the principal image of Buddha in the Godanho ritual. As a representative example in Japan, the statue, which was made in the first stage of the Heian period and is located at the auditorium of To-ji Temple, is well known (as a national treasure). It is estimated that the statues was made around 839, when the auditorium was built.

As for the festivals related to Godai Myoo, Godairikisonninnoue is famous, and Kyoto Daigo-ji Temple performs it in February of each year. In this festival, the power of Godai Myoo is magnified by burning a large ritualistic 'Saito Goma' outside, and on the last day the contest of strength by holding up a big Kagami-mochi of 150 kg has been held as a traditional event.

[Original Japanese]