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World Heritage Site, Daigoji Temple, was founded on the summit of Mount Kasatori in southeastern Kyoto when the monk Rigen Daishi Shobo (832-909) is said to have discovered a spring from which flowed the “ultimate taste, representing the highest state of Buddhist wisdom.” From 876, he had produced statues of Juntei and Nyoirin — two forms of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvaran— and by the 10th century, Daigoji had come under Imperial patronage along with a lower precinct at the mountain’s base.

The sprawling complex became a leading institution in esoteric Shingon Buddhism that was brought to Japan by the Japanese monk Kukai. Initially Shingon Buddhism attracted the nobility, because it catered to worldly needs. It offered wish-granting and rites to subdue external enemies, to provide protection from disaster and to extend life, as well as rituals to bring about rain.

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