Think of those who were buried en mass at Adashino-nembutsu-ji Temple

by Tatsuhiro

History of the temple

  According to what has been told by temple priests, the Reverend Kobo-daishi established a temple in this area and buried the remains of the deceased scattered around some 1,200 years ago. Afterwards, the temple was made the training hall for the Reverend Honen and it now belongs to the Jodo (Pure Land) - Shinsyu sect of Buddhism. There are more than 8,000 stone monuments in the precincts which are the gravestones of those who were buried here in olden times. In the middle of the Meiji period (1868 to 1911), those monuments, which had remained unattended for many hundred years, were collected and re-arranged by local volunteers in accordance with the Buddhist doctrine.

What is special about the temple

  Located in the edge of a local community and at the foot of a hill, this temple consisting of six structures and a large graveyard, looks like a mountain retreat. Serene, quiet atmosphere prevails and visitors voluntarily bow to the stone monuments to pay respect to the souls of those who passed away a long time ago. There is the statue of Amida-Nyorai Buddha sitting in silence in the "Hondo" main hall. At the time of Sento-kuyo Buddhist ritual on August 23rd and 24th each year, the entite temple compound is literally lit by a thousand candles and the scene created by the light, darkness and stone statues makes us feel as if the Pure Land had suddenly appeared before us. In the meantime, variou kinds of colorful lanterns are displayed in the nearby streets and vacant lots and a concert is held by a band of a local high school. The palce attracts a huge crowd of people both from around Kyoto and from abroard on these days.

What you can enjoy

 Just walk around the temple precincts and feel the solemn atmosphere. The place is especially recommendable on the days of Sento-kuyo ritual, when you can enjoy being in the "blazing sea" of candlelights and also seeing the variou shapes of lanterns. You can get in touch with the long-lived local tradition which has a different taste from the conventional summer pleasures represented by fireworks shows and noisy festivals.

Tour of Adashino-nembutsu-ji Temple is here.


30 Aug 2015


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