Japanese temple

Japan has many shrines and temples throughout the country. It is said that there are more than 80.000 shrines and temples in Japan.

For example, western part of main island called “Kyoto” prefecture alone got more than 2,000 shrines and temples.

If you are into history, especially Japanese history, kyoto is the very good place to visit.

Temples in Japan..

Temple houses Buddhist statues,which people pray to,especially during bon festival (mid August) or equinox week when people visit their ancestors’ graves.

People also visit temples on New Year’s Day to wish for happiness and health in the coming new year.

Temples have facilities for training the monks, as well as for housing and feeding them.

The Buddhism was introduced from China around 6th century and, Prince Shotoku Taishi has accepted it, and implemented it into his government systems.

According to Wikipedia website, “A legend claims that when Bodhidharma came to Japan, he met with Prince Shōtoku whilst under the guise of a starving beggar. The Prince asked the beggar to identify himself, but the man did not reply. Instead of going ahead, Shōtoku gave him food, drink, and covered him with his purple garment, telling him to “lie in peace”. The Prince then sang for the starving man.”

“The second day, the Prince sent a messenger to the starving man, but he was already dead. Hereupon, Shōtoku was greatly grieved and ordered his burial. Shōtoku later thought the man was no ordinary man for sure, and sending another messenger, discovered the earth had not been disturbed. On opening the tomb there was no body inside, and the Prince’s purple garment lay folded on the coffin. The Prince then sent another messenger to claim the garment, and he continued to wear it just as before. Struck by awe, the people praised the Prince “How true it is that a sage knoweth a sage.” This legend is linked with the temple of Daruma-dera in Ōji, Nara, where a stone stupa was found underground, which is exceedingly rare.”

Prince Shotoku Taishi is known as founder for 17 article constitution.

You can read the 17 article constitution in PDF file here.

Article 1 says “Harmony should be valued and quarrels should be avoided.When superiors are in harmony with each other and inferiors are friendly, then affairs are discussed quietly and the right view of matters prevails”

This article #1 especially is valued and being taught in Japan as common moral, and it is our trait.

Our culture value “wa;Harmony”, and it is coming from Prince Shotoku Taishi. Japanese laws, rules, customs and manners tend to go out of their way to avoid conflict.

Good example might be, Honne (True feeling) vs Tatemae (Public face feeling).

Japanese society expects people to hide their true feelings in many circumstances in order to be polite.

More on Honne vs Tatemae at Japan talk website here.

Also you can read more on it at ufl website here.

More on “Wa” at PBS website here.

Temple layout..

Buddhist temple complexes consist of a number of structures arranged according to certain concepts or guidelines.

When you visit temple, first, you go through chumon;the gate located in the center.

Normally, if you walk through the gate and go straight, the building all the way back is the building called “Kodo”,which is the place to study Buddhism.

This Kodo is connected to library called “Kyozo”.This library keeps sutras.

That Kodo and the gate, Chumon, is connected by corridor called “Kairo” and it extends to east and west and then turn to north to connects with Kodo.

Inside the temple land, you will find “shoro”;bell tower, in front of kodo building at one side corner.

Then you would see “Gojyu no tou”; Five storied tower.

The closets to the gate, you will find Kondo; building where budhhist statues are kept.

Many Buddha statues are inside the building but one in Kamakura is kept in an open field because of fire they have experienced long time ago.

The temple is called “kotokuin”.You can see the big buddha in the wide open field. Here is the official website in English for you to read more on the temple.It might be interesting place for you to visit.

Buddhist statues..

Besides nyorai and bosatsu, there are also the myoo/tembu style of Buddhist statues.

The statues are usually made from metal or from wood.

Nyorai depicts the Buddha after retiring into religion, so it is not adorned with personal ornaments.

The statue’s background material is called kohai (Halo), and the statue wear the robes called “Noe”.

Then, the statue is sitting on lotus petals called “Rengeza”.

Bosatsu depicts Buddha before retiring into religion so it is adorned with many personal ornaments.

Bosatsu statue would have water container called ” Suibyo”, and also wearing scarf called “Tenne”.

If you have a chance to visit Kyoto in Japan, Kiyomizu temple is the great place to visit.

Feb 22, 2017 | Comments are off | Japan

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