Kangiten (Nandikesvara) (歓喜天)

Kangiten (or Nandikesvara) (Ganapati in Sanskrit) is one of the tenbu, guardian deities that reside in a heavenly realm, one of six realms in which the souls of living beings transmigrate from one to another, in Buddhism. It is also called Daisho Kangi-jizaiten or Shoten.
Incidentally, 'Shoten' is often pronounced 'Shoden.'
It is depicted as a figure in which a man and a woman who have elephant heads and human bodies embrace one another.


It corresponds to Ganesa, Vinayaka or Nandikesvara in Sanskrit. It was a child of Shiva in ancient India, and was originally a violent and evil god.
Regarding Ganesa in Hinduism, see the article, 'Ganesa.'
After it came to believe Buddhism, it became Goho Zenshin, a good deity protecting dharma (護法善神) and guarded Sanzen Sekai (the universe) and the three treasures of Buddha, Buddhism and priests at the head of 9,800 fierce gods.

From the perspective of Buddhism, a man of Kangiten was the first son of Daijizaiten (Mahesvara) and a fierce god who violated world, and was called 'Jozui-ma (常隋魔).' who always peered into people's emptiness. A woman of Kangiten, who was an avatar of Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon Bodhisattva), embraced a man and quelled his violation by invoking his feeling of enjoyment.

Many statues of Kangiten, which have elephant heads and human bodies with long elephant trunks, are expressed in Japan as a figure in which a man and a woman embrace each other face to face. There are works that have only one body or those that have many arms (four or six), but they are rare. The origin of the statue of a man and woman embracing is that Juichimen Kannon (Kannon with eleven faces) changed its figure to a heavenly maiden in order to quell the desire of Kangiten, who was originally a fierce god, and embraced him. Because of this character of the statue, Kangiten is a Buddhist statue not usually shown to the public.

In Mikkyo (Esoteric Buddhism) it is regarded as the principal image of Kangiten-ho (歓喜天法) (Shoten-ho (聖天法)), who prays for pious acts, but it is generally worshipped as a god of marital harmony and the blessing of a child.

Many statues of Kangiten are small statues placed in zushi, miniature shrines in which Buddhist images or rolls of sutras (kyo), are kept; they are made of metal because a mass is held by Yokuyu-ho (浴油法), placing it in oil. The statue of Kangiten at Hokai-ji Temple in Kamakura City is a wooden statue over 150 cm tall and was beautifully made, so that it can be said to be a representative work among the Kangiten statues in Japan.

The mantra (shingon) is On Kiri (Ku) Gyaku Un Sowaka.

Although it is said that the first 'ku' (meaning "trouble" in Japanese) is often omitted in the sense of preventing trouble at the time of invocation, in Japan the part that is read as 'kiriku' is a corrupted form of the original sound, 'Furi-hi,' which is simply read as 'kiriku' in the Shingon sect and 'Kiri' in the Tendai sect. Therefore, in the other Shingon litany there is a case in which the sound of 'Furi-hi' in Japan is pronounced like that, according to the particular sect.

As the altar configuration for Kangiten, there is a candy called Kangi-dan or Kangi-gan. It was a candy in India, but in Japan it means the altar configuration only for Kangiten and Bishamonten (Vaisravana). There are various opinions on the ingredients and preparation, and it is said that there are 11 types such as honeydew, rum blossom and strawberry; there is also an opinion that there are different types according to the aims of prayers such as the defeat of evil (調伏) and for good health. Currently, the method is to mix rice flour with water, roll into a flat rice cake, place red beans, dried persimmon and a medicinal material in it, and cook in oil. Twist the edge so that it resembles the shape of a rum blossom. It is placed with sake and Japanese radish as altar configuration in the Shoten-gu mass (Kangiten-gu mass).

The three main shotens in Japan
The three main shotens in Japan generally consist of the shotens of three temples, two of which are Honryu-inTemple (commonly called Matsuchiyama-Shoden) in the Taito Ward of Tokyo and Hozan-ji Temple (commonly called Ikoma-Shoten) in Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture; the third could be any one of Kangi-in Temple (commonly called Menuma-Shoden) in Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture; Ashigarasan Shoden-do Temple (commonly called Ashigara-Shoden) in Oyama-cho, Shizuoka Prefecture; Daifukuden-ji Temple (commonly called Kuwana-Seiten) in Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture; or Toraku-ji Temple (commonly called Toyooka-Shoten) in Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture.

Major temples that enshrine Kangiten at various places in Japan
Saisho-in Temple (Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture)
Kangi-in Temple (Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture) - one of the three main shotens in Japan
Mangan-ji Temple (Gyoda City, Saitama Prefecture)
Manpuku-ji Temple (Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture)
Honryu-in Temple (Taito Ward, Tokyo) - one of the three main shotens in Japan
Eitai-ji Temple (Koto Ward, Tokyo)
Takaosan Yakuo-in Temple (Hachioji City, Tokyo)
Hokai-ji Temple (Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture) - the only statue of Kangiten that is designated as an important cultural property
Ashigarasan Shoden-do Temple (Oyama-cho, Shizuoka Prefecture) - one of the three main shotens in Japan
Daifukuden-ji Temple (Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture) Kuwana-no-Shoten-san, one of the three main shotens in Japan
Hozan-ji Temple (Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture) - one of the three main shotens in Japan
Sorin-ji Temple (Yamashina Ward, Kyoto City) -commonly called Yamashina Shoten
Komyozan Shoho-in Temple (Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture) - Zezu Shoten
Kannon-ji Temple (Otokuni-gun, Kyoto Prefecture)- Yamazaki Shoten, Yamazaki-no-Shoten-san
Uho-in Temple (Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City) - Nishijin-no-Shoten-san
Shoen-ji Temple (Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture) - Tenka-jaya-no-Shoten-san
Hoan-ji Temple (Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture) - Nihonbashi-no-Shoten-san
Toraku-ji Temple (Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture) - one of the three main shotens in Japan
Kiyoshikojin Seicho-ji Temple (Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture)

[Original Japanese]