Bussokusekika (the Buddhas Footprint Poems at the Yakushiji-temple in Nara) (仏足石歌)

Bussokusekika is a name given to a waka (Japanese poetry) based on its contents and format, and is also referred to as Bussokuseki no uta (the Buddha's Footprint Poems). At the Yakushi-ji Temple in Nara, a stone slab inscribed with Bussokusekika stands next to the Buddha's Footprint Stone. Among the Bussokusekika inscribed on the stone slab, 17 verses of '恭仏跡' (poems praising the virtues of Buddha) and 4 of '呵責生死' (poems to recommend Buddhism by preaching the truth of the transient world) are Buddhist ballads.

Bussokuseki was created by FUNYA no Chinu (also known as King Chinu), a grandson of Emperor Tenmu, in 753, as part of a memorial service for his deceased wife (or mother), and thus the poems were also believed to have been written around this period.

Each of Bussokusekika is composed of six lines of 5-7-5-7-7-7 syllables, with the sixth line often paraphrasing the fifth, indicating its origin in songs of the premodern period that recites the last line repeatedly. This style of poetry is mainly found in the inscriptions of Bussokusekka, so it is called Bussokusekkatai (the style of Bussokusekka). In addition to the inscription of Bussokusekika, this style of poetry is found in a single poem in each of the 'Kojiki' (The Records of Ancient Matters), 'Manyoshu' (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), and 'Harima no kuni fudoki' (the topography of Harima Province).

Bussokusekika were created during the Yamato and Nara periods, but lost popularity and disappeared during the Heian period.

[Original Japanese]