首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
首無し仏像・ヤマボウシImage
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仏教への弾圧の歴史

首無し仏像・ヤマボウシ

長崎県雲仙市
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広場の柵の外にある首がない仏像は、薬壺をお持ちの薬師如来像です。
 病気を癒やし、人々の願いを叶えてくださる如来様。しかし、なぜかその御姿には首がありません。
雲仙には、このように首のない仏像や首が一度取られたものの、後から修復されたものなどが、あちこちで見られます。
島原半島では、頭のない観音菩薩像や空海座像など数多く発見されています。
 島原一揆で知られる島原半島では、江戸時代、当時の藩主だった 有馬晴信が保身のためキリスト教に改宗しため、寺社仏閣、仏像の破壊、僧侶への弾圧が行われました。
 また戦後に、雲仙のホテルへ滞在していた駐留軍の兵士がハンマーで仏像の首をはねたり、射撃の的にして破壊していたそうです。
 振り返って、絹笠山をご覧下さい。
初夏。6月中旬から7月初旬にかけて、花をつけたヤマボウシが雲仙の山々を白く染めていきます。広場から正面に見える絹笠山周辺では、ヤマボウシの群落を見ることができます。

★ 英語バージョン
 Well over a thousand years after Buddhism came to Japan from China, another foreign religion arrived in Unzen – Portuguese merchants and missionaries arrived preaching Christianity. The headless Buddhist statue just beyond the fence is an example of what happened when these two religions clashed.
 Christianity arrived in Japan in the mid-1500s, and by the end of the sixteenth century, the religion had spread not only across Kyushu but also across Japan. The lord of the Shimabara Peninsula had also converted to Christianity and ordered attacks on Buddhist monks, temples, and symbols.
 The statue you see nearby is of Yakushi Nyōrai, the buddha of medicine and healing. It and countless other Buddhist statues were beheaded during the attacks because they were seen as indicative of idol worship by the new Christians. Many remain headless to this day. Of those that do have their heads, many have also been repaired. Shinto believers destroyed more statues after the Meiji restoration in 1868, and there are stories of occupying soldiers after World War II carrying out similar attacks against Buddhist statues. Although a long-time center of spirituality, Unzen has not always been a place of religious harmony.
In Unzen, the Christian lord Arima Harunobu (1567–1612) ordered the destruction of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples as a rejection of centuries of religious tradition. Buddhist statues were beheaded by the newly converted Christians, and to this day these headless relics can still be seen around town, though others have been repaired with concrete.
In 1587, however, one of the great unifiers of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–1598) ordered the first expulsion of missionaries, suspecting that the Portuguese were intending to colonize Japan after converting the Japanese to Christianity. In 1597, twenty-six Christians were executed by crucifixion in Nagasaki. They were the first of thousands to be killed in the religious upheaval that followed––culminating in the disastrous Shimabara Rebellion of 1637–1638.

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