Rōbensugi Cedar

Rōbensugi Cedar

Rōben (689 – 773) was one of Shishō (the four great sages) including Emperor Shōmu (701 – 756 ), Gyōki (668 – 749), and Bodaisenna (704 – 760) due to the achievement of building the Great Buddha of Tōdaiji Temple. The name Rōbensugi Cedar comes from the legend of Rōben’s young age. When his mother put him in the shade of a tree in order to pick mulberries, suddenly, he was taken away by a hawk that had dropped down through the air. The hawk left Rōben by a Japanese cedar in Nigatsudō Hall of Tōdaiji Temple, and he was saved by a Gien Sōjō who happened to pass by and then fostered by him. Rōben who had gotten on-the-job training became a fine priest, and met his mother again. Allegedly, the place of their reunion was also under this cedar.