Kobo Daishi

Japanese - (c. 774-835). A Buddhist saint. Founder of True Word Buddhism. The priest Kukai, who as a boy was called Totomono, travelled to China, learned the principles of the Chen Yen sect and returned to Japan to found the Shingon (True Word) movement. Before leaving the mainland, he threw his vajra which landed in Japan. He was credited with the invention of a form of cursive script and was a famous preacher and painter. He could produce water by pushing his staff into the earth or, if he needed shelter from the sun, the staff would take root and grow into a shady tree. In one story, he gave a handkerchief to a servant who had brought him water. When she used it, she became very beautiful and attracted a rich husband, whereas the girl's mistress, who had refused to give him water, was turned into a horse. Another story says that he straightened the leaning tower of a temple merely by prayer. When he once tried to kill himself for the benefit of humanity, angels prevented him so that he might fulfil his destiny. It was said that a star entered his mouth and he killed a dragon merely by spitting on it. Asked by a boy to demonstrate his powers, he wrote letters in the sky and on the surface of water. The boy then drew a dragon on the water and, when the saint added a dot, the dragon came to life and ascended to heaven. He was said to be able to raise the dead and to purify polluted water as well as communicating with the gods. At his own request he was buried alive and it is said that his body never rots but awaits the coming of the Buddha Mahavairocana. After his death he was deified as Kobo Daishi. One story says that he rose from his grave to conduct the funeral of one emperor and to baptise his successor. Sometimes referred to as Kobo Daishi, Hensho Kong, Hensho Kong, Gohitsu-Osoh, Gohitsu-Osoh, Kukai, Kukai, Totomono or Totomono.

Nearby Myths