|Hatsumi Sensei’s 6 ton 大黒天 Daikokuten, photo Michael Glenn|
One day I was asking Hatsumi Sensei about the meaning of a particular scroll he had just painted. The reading of it was one thing, but the kanji, brush strokes, and shape of the entire piece suggested more. He answered me… sort of. Luckily I was familiar with the word he used. He said, 徴ね。Shirushi, ne?
Meaning this scroll had signs, hints, or clues.
I remembered that word because of some training I had done with Soke some years ago outside under some Japanese maples. He showed us a style of ninja walking that I describe here: How to Read the 徴 Shirushi Taught in 口伝 Kuden
Soke leaves signs and hints for us to follow everywhere. You just have to develop the capacity to sense them. I recently found another secret path that he has indicated for people who can find it.
Hatsumi Sensei dedicated a 6 ton 大黒天 Daikokuten statue created in honor of Takamatsu Sensei. This was on the 37th year of Takamatsu’s passing. But he placed it as a sign for all Bujinkan students.
In modern Japan, Daikokuten is a fat, happy god of farmers. He also symbolizes food, wealth, and good fortune. But the funny thing is that older depictions of him in Japan portray him as a fierce warrior, sometimes even wearing armor. That is because he originates from the Hindu warrior deity, Mahākāla.
|More 大黒天 Daikokuten in Soke’s House, photo Michael Glenn|
He stands holding 打ち出の小槌 uchide nokozuchi, his magic wish granting mallet over his head. One foot is on a 俵 tawara, or bale of rice. Next to the rice, at the bottom of the statue is a rat. Whenever there is plentiful rice, there will also be rats.
Hatsumi Sensei dedicated this statue in the year of the rat. Although the rat may seem to be a nuisance, he is a protector. For example, in one Japanese myth the story goes,
“the Buddhist Gods grew jealous of Daikoku. They consulted together, and finally decided that they would get rid of the too popular Daikoku, to whom the Japanese offered prayers and incense.
Emma-O, the Lord of the Dead, promised to send his most cunning and clever oni (demon), Shiro, who, he said, would have no difficulty in conquering the God of Wealth. Shiro, guided by a sparrow, went to Daikoku’s castle, but though he hunted high and low he could not find its owner. Finally, Shiro discovered a large storehouse, in which he saw the God of Wealth seated.
Daikoku called his Rat and bade him find out who it was who dared to disturb him. When the Rat saw Shiro he ran into the garden and brought back a branch of holly, with which he drove the oni away, and Daikoku remains to this day one of the most popular of the Japanese Gods. This incident is said to be the origin of the New Year’s Eve charm, consisting of a holly leaf and a skewer, or a sprig of holly fixed in the lintel of the door of a house to prevent the return of the oni.”
~ Myths and Legends of Japan by F. Hadland Davis , 1913 by George G. Harrap & Company, London
Soke said that he placed this statue in a spot where it could act as:
… a connection through space like a rope path or a distinct guiding path binding or linking the 武神館道場 Bujinkan hombu dojo and the 本陣 Honjin together. Soke says this is like a lighthouse or a beacon guiding us in the direction of the 辰 Dragon.
If you can follow this path, you may discover what Hatsumi Sensei says the statue symbolizes:
六根 rokkon six sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind)
and 六道 rokudou (the 6 paths of existence or karmic rebirth in Buddhism).
The symbol on the bale of rice is a form of 宝珠 Hōju. This wish fulfilling jewel bestows wealth. But it is a Buddhist form of wealth that eases suffering, calms desire, and comes with knowledge of dharma. But many people just wish for riches.
Hatsumi Sensei said the statue was given the name of 威光武徳大黒天 Ikou Butoku Daikokuten (power of warrior benevolence). And the base of the statue bears his name, 初見良昭 Hatsumi Masaaki, 白龍翁 Byakuryu-oh (venerable white dragon).