Email Site Author Mark Schumacher Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter on Buddhist Statuary spacer
Follow on Social Media
My Wordpress Buddha Statues Blog Follow Me on Facebook Follow Me on Twitter Follow Me on Google + Follow Me on LinkedIn Follow Me on Youtube Free RSS Buddha News Feed 

Japanese Buddhism, Photo Dictionary of Japan's Shinto and Buddhist DivinitiesRETURN TO TOP PAGE of Japanese Buddhist Statuary A to Z Photo Library & Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Shinto Kami, Creatures, and DemonsCopyright and Usage PoliciesJump to Our Online Store Selling Handcrafted Statues
top line
spacer


QUICK START
Home: What's New
Buddha's Teachings
History & Timeline
Historical Buddha
Student's Guide
Teacher's Guide

DEITY GUIDES
Who's Who
Buddha
Bodhisattva
Myo-o
Shinto Kami
Shugendo
Stars & Planets
Tenbu (Deva)

OTHER GUIDES
About Site Author
Bibliography
Buddhism in Japan
Busshi Glossary
Carving Techniques
Cycle of Suffering
Drapery/Robe Guide
Mandala Guide
Mudra Guide
Objects Guide
Pilgrimage Guide
Shinto Guide
Statues by Artist
Statues by Era
Symbols Guide
Terminology

Buddhist-Artwork.com, our sister site, offers online sales of hand-carved wood Buddha statues.
Buddhist-Artwork.com, our sister site, offers online sales of hand-carved wood Buddha statues.

A TO Z INDEX
3 Element Stele
3 Monkeys
4 Bosatsu
4 Celestial Emblems
4 Heavenly Kings
5 (Number Five)
5 Elements
5 Tathagata
5 Tier Pagoda
5 Wisdom Kings
6 Jizo
6 Kannon
6 Realms
6 Nara Schools
7 Lucky Gods
7 Nara Temples
8 Legions
8 Zodiac Patrons
10 Kings of Hell
12 Devas
12 Generals
12 Zodiac Animals
13 Butsu (Funerals)
28 Legions
28 Constellations
30 Buddha of Month
30 Kami of Month
33 Kannon
About the Author
Agyo
Aizen
Amano Jyaku
Amida Nyorai
Apsaras
Arakan (Rakan)
Arhat (Rakan)
Ashuku Nyorai
Asuka Era Art Tour
Asura (Ashura)
Baku (Eats Dreams)
Bamboo
Benzaiten (Benten)
Bibliography
Big Buddha
Birushana Nyorai
Bishamon-ten
Bodhisattva
Bonbori Artwork
Bosatsu Group
Bosatsu of Mercy
Bosatsu on Clouds
Buddha (Historical)
Buddha Group
Buddha Statues
Busshi (Sculptors)
Calligraphy
Celestial Emblems
Celestial Maidens
Children Patrons
Classifying
Color Red
Confucius
Contact Us
Daibutsu
Daijizaiten
Daikokuten
Dainichi Nyorai
Daruma (Zen)
Datsueba (Hell Hag)
Deva (Tenbu)
Donations
Dosojin
Dragon
Drapery (Robes)
Early Buddhism Japan
Ebisu
Eight Legions
En no Gyoja
Estores
Family Tree
Footprints of Buddha
Fox (Inari)
Fudo (Fudou) Myoo
Fugen Bosatsu
Fujin (Wind God)
Fukurokuju
Gakko & Nikko
Gardens
Gigeiten
Godai Nyorai
Goddess of Mercy
Goddesses
Gongen
Gravestones
Hachi Bushu
Hachiman
Hands (Mudra)
Hell (10 Judges)
Hell Hag (Datsueba)
Hell Scrolls
Henge
Hikyu (Lion Beast)
Holy Mountains
Ho-o (Phoenix)
Hotei
Idaten
Inari (Fox)
Ishanaten
Ishidoro (Ishidourou)
Jikokuten
Jizo Bosatsu
Jocho Busshi
Juni Shi
Juni Shinsho
Juni Ten
Junrei (Pilgrimage)
Jurojin
Juuzenji
Jyaki or Tentoki
Kaikei Busshi
Kamakura Buddhism
Kankiten
Kannon Bosatsu
Kappa
Kariteimo (Kishibojin)
Karura
Karyoubinga
Kendatsuba
Kichijouten
Kitchen Gods
Kishibojin (Kariteimo)
Kitsune (Oinari)
Kokuzo Bosatsu
Koujin (Kojin)
Komokuten
Korean Buddhism
Koushin
Lanterns (Stone)
Links
Making Statues
Mandara (Mandala)
Maneki Neko
Marishiten (Marici)
Miroku Bosatsu
Monju Bosatsu
Monkeys
Moon Lodges
Mother Goddess
Mudra (Hands)
Myoken (Pole Star)
Myo-o
Nara Era Art Tour
Newsletter Sign Up
Nijuhachi Bushu
Nikko & Gakko
Ninpinin
Nio Protectors
Nyorai Group
Objects & Symbols
Onigawara
Phoenix (Ho-o)
Pilgrimage Guide
Pottery
Protective Stones
Raigo Triad
Raijin (Thunder God)
Rakan (Arhat)
Red Clothing
Reincarnation
Robes (Drapery)
Rock Gardens
Sanbo Kojin
Sanno Gongen
Sarutahiko
Sculptors (Busshi)
Seishi Bosatsu
Sendan Kendatsuba
Seven Lucky Gods
Shachi, Shachihoko
Shaka Nyorai
Shape Shifters
Shichifukujin
Shijin (Shishin)
Shinra Myoujin
Shinto Clergy
Shinto Concepts
Shinto Kami
Shinto Main Menu
Shinto Sects
Shinto Shrines
Shishi (Lion)
Shitenno
Shoki
Shomen Kongo
Shotoku Taishi
Shrines
Shugendo
Siddhartha
Six States
Star Deities
Stone Gardens
Stone Graves
Stone Lanterns
Stones (Top Menu)
Suijin (Water Kami)
Symbols & Objects
Tamonten
Taishakuten
Tanuki
Temples
Temple Lodging
Tenbu Group
Tengu
Tennin & Tennyo
Tentoki or Jyaki
Terminology
Tibetan Carpets
Tibet Photos
Tibetan Tanka
Transmigration
Ungyo
Unkei Busshi
Videos on Buddhism
Water Basin
Weapons
Wheel of Life
Yakushi Nyorai
Yasha (Yaksha)
Zao Gongen
Zen (Daruma)
Zen Art Tour
Zodiac Calendar
Zochoten

 

spacer

MONKEY MENU

 
PAGE ONE current location
Story Snapshot

PAGE TWO
India - Hindu
India - Buddhist
China - Zodiac
China - Buddhist
Buddhist Zodiac

PAGE THREE
JAPAN LORE

Introduction
Word Play
Sannō / Mt. Hiei
Monkey Deities
Color Red
Kōshin / 3 Worms
Shōmen Kongō
Three Monkeys

PAGE FOUR
Bibliography
Adages/Terms

spacer
PAGE ONE OF FOUR
spacer
Page One, Monkey Lore in Japan  |  2  |  3  |  4

Monkies - Saru, Shin, En - Japanese pronunciation and spelling

MONKEY IN JAPAN
PAGE ONE - STORY SNAPSHOT

 
Calculating and intelligent, yet
mischievous, vain, and restless.
Akin to the human spirit and passions.
Common motif in Buddhist art & literature.


ORIGINS
India: Hindu Lore (Pre-Buddhist) & Buddhism
China: Zodiac Lore (Pre-Buddhist) & Buddhism
 Japan: Buddhist and Shintō Lore

 

 
Three Monkies at Hase Dera in Kamakura, Year 1646 AD
spacer
Three Monkeys. Jp. = San-en 三猿 or Sanzaru 三猿 or Sanbiki no Saru 三匹の猿.
Wood Carving, 1646 AD. Treasure of Hase Dera Temple in Kamakura, Japan
 Speak No Evil (Iwazaru 言わざる), Hear No Evil (Kikazaru 聞かざる), See No Evil (Mizaru 見ざる)

Top of Page

STORY SNAPSHOT
QUICK SUMMARY OF ALL MONKEY PAGES

spacer

Koushin Stone Statue, 1808 AD, Yagumo Shrine, near Raikoji Temple, Kamakura
Kōshin Statue, 1808 AD
Shōmen Kongō standing
atop three monkeys

Sacred Monkey at Hie Shrine, Mt. Hiei
Sacred Monkey at
Hie Shrine, Mt. Hiei
Shiga Pref., Japan

spacerThese four pages focus on monkey lore and monkey deities in India, China, and Japan -- with a special emphasis on Japanese Tendai Shinto-Buddhism. They also present many examples of monkey artwork found in Japan. In both Hindu lore (India) and Zodiac divination (China), we find examples of monkey mythology that predate the arrival of Buddhism. The latter originated around 500 BC in India and took hold in China sometime in the 1st-2nd centuries AD.

By the time Buddhism reached Japan (mid 6th century AD), the monkey and monkey lore were already common elements in Buddhist legend, art, and iconography. Thereafter, monkey worship in Japan grew greatly in popularity, especially among practitioners of Taoist Kōshin rites introduced from China and among followers of Tendai Shintō-Buddhism, the latter centered around the syncretic Tendai shrine-temple multiplex located at Mt. Hiei (Shiga Prefecture, near Kyoto). Some scholars believe the famous three monkeys -- speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil -- originated in Japan in association with Mt. Hiei and the sacred monkey of the Hie Shrine (Hie Jinja 日吉神社; also called Hiyoshi Taisha 日吉大社).

The central deity at Mt. Hiei is Sannō 山王 (lit. Mountain King; also spelled Sannou, Sanno, Sanoo, Sano), an appellation given to all Shintō deities protecting this sacred mountain. Sannō’s messenger (tsukai 使い) is the monkey. The Sannō deity is broadly conceived, for Sannō actually represents three important Buddha (Shaka, Yakushi, and Amida), who in turn represent the three most important Shintō KAMI (deities) of Hie Shrine. These three Kami are Omiya 大宮, Ninomiya 二宮, and Shōshinshi 聖真子. Collectively, there are 21 Sannō deities at Mt. Hiei, each associated with a specific Buddhist counterpart. These manifestations of the Sannō deity are called Hie Sannō Gongen 日吉山王権現 (Mountain King Avatars of Hie Shrine). Moreover, the number three is of tremendous importance in Tendai doctrine. This supports the notion (still contested) that the three-monkey motif originated in Japan in association with Mt. Hiei and Tendai Shintō-Buddhism.

Monkey worship in Japan peaked in the Edo Era, but has declined significantly since then. Even so, the legacy of monkey faith is easily spotted in modern Japan. One can still find old stone statues with monkey motifs in many Japanese localities -- statues that are weathering away, unprotected from the elements. Photos of these statues are presented on Page Three. Moreover, certain Japanese shrines (Hie Jinja locations nationwide) and temples (Shitennō-ji in Osaka) continue even today to perform the Kōshin rites for those who still believe (most are elderly Japanese), and lucky charms featuring the monkey are still easily found at Japanese temples, shrines, and trinket shops. The color RED is often associated with the monkey, for it signifies the dual role of the monkey as protector against disease as well as patron of fertility.

 

Top of Page

PAGE STRUCTURE:
These pages are organized in four categories to improve readability.

  • Page One. Story Snapshot. This page! Quick summary of story.
     
  • Page Two. India & China. Pre-Buddhist monkey mythology. Focus on Hindu lore (India) and Zodiac cosmology (China). Also explores subsequent Buddhist monkey lore in both nations. Key topics include the Hindu legend of Hanuman, various stories from the Jataka, the Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” and the Chinese parable “Catching the Moon’s Reflection.”
     
  • Page Three. Japan. The central page of this report on the monkey. Explores monkey lore and monkey deities in Japan. Features many photos of extant Japanese artwork, with a special focus on Japanese Tendai Shinto-Buddhism, Mt. Hiei, Sannō, Kōshin, the three worms, Shōmen Kongō, and the three monkeys. The following deities and concepts appear on page three: 
     
    • Three Monkeys = San-en 三猿 or Sanzaru 三猿 or Sanbiki no Saru 三匹の猿. Literally means "Three Monkeys," who are Mizaru (no see, 見ざる), Kikazaru (no hear, 聞かざる), and Iwazaru (no speak, 言わざる)

      Jūzenji (Juuzenji) = 十禅師
      Kōshin (Koushin, Koshin = 庚申
      Kanoe Saru = 庚申
      Masaru = 神猿 
      San-en = 三猿 = Three Monkeys
      Sannō (Sannou, Sanno, Sano) Gongen = 山王権現
      Sannō (Sannou, Sanno) Mandala = 山王曼荼羅
      Sarugami = 猿神 (Also search 猿神の舞い)
      Sarutahiko = 猿田彦
      Seishoku Daikongō (Daikongo) Yasha = 青色大金剛薬叉
      Shikumon Setsuki 四句文刹鬼 and Shima 四魔
      Shinra Myōjin (Myoujin) = 新羅明神
      Shōmen Kongō (Shomen Kongo) = 青面金剛
      Three Worms = 三蟲 (or three corpses/destroyers 三尸)
       

  • Page Four. Sources. Bibliography and targeted resources for learning more. Also includes a special section on Chinese and Japanese monkey adages and phrases.

Top of Page

Jump to Monkey Lore, Page Two  JUMP TO PAGE TWO

spacer
bottom bar

Copyright 1995 - 2013. Mark Schumacher. Email Mark.
All stories and photos, unless specified otherwise, by Schumacher.
www.onmarkproductions.com     |     make a donation

Please do not copy these pages or photos into Wikipedia or elsewhere without proper citation !