Thursday, May 27, 2010


We Walked to Toji-Temple today from Kyoto Station. It was a quick walk to beautiful temple grounds. We started the tour with a short lecture on Buddhism by Hilary in front of the five story pagoda.

We learned the Buddha means awakened one and that the Buddha that we have on record was a prince named Sakamuni who reached enlightenment through meditation. Buddha is not a god to Buddhists but one who reached enlightenment and nirvana when he died. Nirvana is the combination of enlightenment, death, and the extinguishing of the soul where the soul becomes one with the world.

We also learned that the pagoda is an East Asian interpretation of the Indian stupa which houses relics from the Buddha. The Chinese designs were brought to Japan along witht eh Buddhist religion and relics. The pagoda stading in Toji-Temple houses relics underneath the central pole tha tgoes form inside the ground to the top of the five story pagoda. This pagoda is the largest standing wooden structure in Japan.

We continued our tour by looking at the Yakushi Trinity in the Kondo-Hall and the set of Twenty-one Buddhist statues in the Lecture Hall. We weren't allowed to take
pictures in either hall which was disapointing because the statues were absolutelly amazing. Each of the statues are covered in goldleaf and extremely ornate.
Hilary explained to us that there are three types of statues that we saw; Buddha, Bohisattva, and Vidyaraja. The Buddha is the awakened one, the Bohisattva is also an awakened one but they stay on earth to help others become enlightened and then the Vidyaraja is the king of wisdom.

Each of the three types has specific iconic designs that show what it is. The Buddha has three fleshy neck rings, enlongated earlobes, an urna or dot on his forehead and snail-curls. The Bodhisattva is dressed in princely garb and Vidyaraja is designed to look strong and wrathful.
Over all Toji-Temple is aboslutely beaufiful and a must see for anyone who comes to Kyoto and loves hisotry or art. Every piece of each building and statue is a handcrafted work of art that should be carefully observed and admired even if you can't take pictures of the statues.

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