The Blue Dragon of Kiyomizu-dera

Visitors to Kiyomizu-dera (a Buddhist Temple in Kyoto, Japan) may notice a large dragon statue standing guard in front of the temple – specifically, at the base of the stairs leading up to the temple’s West Gate and Three-Story Pagoda.   Given that Kiyomizu-dera is dedicated to worship of Kannon, the bodhisattva of peace and mercy, a dragon might seem out of place . . . but this particular dragon is, in fact, an incarnation of Kannon and the guardian of Kyoto.  The blue dragon, or seiryuu, is honored at Kiyomizu-dera; at special ceremonies in March, April, and September, special prayers are said

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