Konpira (金毘羅)

Konpira (金毘羅) is a water god and demon god of Mt. Ryojusen in India, and is the head of the Juni Shinsho (the twelve protective deities) of Yakushi Nyorai (the Healing Buddha).

Also written as 金比羅 and 禁毘羅. Sometimes called Kubira. As one of the Juni Shinsho, also called Kubira Taisho, Konpira Doji. In Shinto, also called Konpira Daigongen. Kunbi-ra in Sanskrit.

Enshrined at Konpira-jinja Shrines throughout Japan with Kotohira-gu Shrine as the head shrine.

The Hindu god of the Ganges River, Kunbi-ra became incorporated into Buddhism and became Kubira Taisho and with the syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism, Konpira Daigongen was established as the Suijakushin (provisional Buddha) for Miroko Bosatsu (Buddha of the Future, Bodhisattva of the Present) (other theories say Eleven-faced Kannon [Goddess of Mercy]). Kunbi-ra is often confused with another Hindu god Kubi-ra, who was the predecessor of Bishamonten (Vaisravana) because their names are similar, but they are completely different from each other.

Kunbi-ra originally was a water god transformed into a god from crocodiles in the Ganges River and in Japan is considered to be in snake form.

Kubi-ra is the Va-hana (riding object) of the goddess Ganger who controls the Ganges River and has been worshiped in Japan as the protective god of sea transportation. She is especially worshiped by sailors and ordinarily enshrined on mountain tops that overlook large harbors.

Konpira in Shinto
The understanding in Shinto is that Konpira Daigongen is Omono nushi (a Japanese ancient god), Susanoo or Emperor Sutoku. Even though it is contradictory to say Emperor Sutoku is Konpira Daigongen because of the time period, there was such a belief.

However, in the Meiji period, it was determined to be Omono nushi.

Kotohira-gu Shrine

Kotohira-gu Shrine in Kotohira-cho, Kagawa Prefecture is the head shrine for the 600 or so Konpira-jinja Shrines (Konpira-san) in Japan and in the late Edo period, it was popular to visit Kotohira-gu Shrine and this was called Konpira-mairi.

The fair day is the tenth of every month.

[Original Japanese]