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Sankono-matsu(pine)The Legend of the Pine Tree Associated with the Great Monk Kukai

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Nagasaki Unzen
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Sankono-matsu(pine)
During his return from completing his training in Tang China, the great Buddhist monk Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi) threw "sankono-matu" (three-pronged vajra) into the sky, requesting it to indicate the location of his training ground in Japan. After returning to Japan, the vajra landed on a pine tree with three branches at Koyasan (Mount Koya). Along the path from the small hell to the Issai-kyo Hall, there is a rare "sankono-matsu" (pine tree with three branches) which bears the leaves in groups of three. This pine tree is considered a relic of Kukai's legacy and is sold as a protective charm in Koyasan.While some temples with a connection to Kukai's teachings also possess such trees, they are found only in Nagasaki Prefecture. Manmyozi Temple, which belongs to the Shingon sect of Buddhism like Koyasan, is said to have transplanted the tree here during a period of exchange between the two locations, with the intention of protecting the bodies of practicing monks at the time. The tree continues to be popular as a protective charm, attracting many visitors even today.


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