Shukongo-shin (執金剛神)

Shukongo-shin is a Buddhist Goho zenjin (good deities protecting dharma) and is also referred to as Kongoshu and Jikongo. The name was given because the Shukongo-shin protects Buddhism with a vajra in his hand.

The vajra symbolizes Buddha's wisdom being a weapon that destroys Bonno (earthly desires).

Although his role is the same as that of Kongo Rikishi, while Kongo Rikishi takes a form of two naked bodies of Misshaku and Naraen, Shukongo-shin is generally formed and placed as a single busho (Japanese military commander). There is an opinion that the origin is the same as that of Kongo Rikishi (Nio).

He is called Vajrapani in India, and expressed in the form of a half-naked body. In China and Japan, he is expressed as a bushin (god of war) in kacchu (armor and helmet) with Funnuso (an angry expression found on Buddhist images).

As surviving articles in Japan, a statue (National Treasure) in Hokkedo (Sangatsudo) of Todai-ji Temple is known. Because it is placed in a zushi (a cupboard-like case with double doors in which an image of (the) Buddha, a sutra, or some other revered object is kept at a temple) on the north side of the Hokkedo and the doors are allowed to open only once a year, it is very well-preserved. It is a very precious statue made in the Nara period, with gold foils and colors preserved extremely well on the surface.

A wooden statue in Kongo-in Temple (Maizuru City) in Kyoto was made by Kaikei in the Kamakura period while studying the statue in Hokkedo of Todai-ji Temple.

[Original Japanese]