Kurodani’s Buddha

At the cemetery of Kurodani temple (the official name is Konkai Komyo-ji) is this unique Buddha statue.

It is called the Gokoshiyui Amida Statue, but, for obvious reasons, it is better known as the “Afro Buddha”. The story goes that this Buddha had such an incredibly long period of training/meditation that the hair grew to this size and shape.

And indeed, the name “Gokoshiyui” can be translated to “5 kalpa thought”, where a kalpa is an aeon, an incredibly long time. Interestingly, while there are definitions of the length of a kalpa in Hinduism (4.32 billion years), Buddhism prefers to use analogies rather than explicit numbers. Wikipedia states that in some definitions, a regular kalpa is 16.8 million years, and there are small, medium and great kalpas as well, the last one being about 1.3 trillion years.

I guess after such a long time of meditation, you can be excused for having a bad hair day. His face also has a wonderful, serene expression, and I wonder what stories he might tell…