Adashino Temple Kyoto



Adashino, Temple Nenbutsu-ji

Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple あだしの念仏寺, 仏野念仏寺 / 化野念仏寺
Adashino-cho, Toriimoto, Saga, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City

The Chinese characters of the name mean "Buddha Field 仏野 ". The temple is located overlooking Kyoto from the North-West, in a place of an old burrial ground, where in olden times it was a custom to leave the bodies here to decay 風葬. Kobo Daishi erected a temple here, and Saint Honen re-named it as "Amida Prayer Temple" Nenbutsu-Ji. See LINKS below.

People build many stone markers for the dead and soon started some funral and memorial services to pacify the souls, especially for graves with no families to look after them any more. Now there are more than 8000 stone markers.

There is also a region for the graves of small children, Sai no Kawara.

CLICK for more photos CLICK for more in English and photos


- Homepage of the temple
source : www.nenbutsuji.jp


© Idler, cheap to travel

Late one afternoon I make my away to Adashino Nembutsu-ji, the famous temple and cemetery on the outskirts of Kyoto. Along the way I ponder just what draws me to these places beyond mere historical and architectural interest. Is it the sheer novelty of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, or is there some underlying principle that I find appealing?

The key, I think, is rooted in mono no aware, a sensibility that is uniquely Japanese. Without going into a prolonged discourse, the simplest definition would be a keen appreciation of the vulnerability of life and the transitory nature of all things, yet at the same time a pleasurable sadness that arises from cherishing brief moments of beauty. The cherry blossom is perhaps the most common symbol of mono no aware—budding, blooming, and falling softly to the ground in only a few days—evanescent beauty in a world in which all things continuously change and disappear.

The concept of the transience of the world is central to Buddhism, particularly Zen Buddhism, with its appreciation of beauty as a fleeting state and its longing for the infinite and eternal. The very brevity and fragility of life makes it all the more touching. Those who possess a sense of mono no aware are sensitive not only to ephemeral beauty but to the suffering of all living things.

“If we lived forever,
if the dews of Adashino never vanished,
if the crematory smoke on Toribeyama never faded,
men would hardly feel the pity of things."

Yoshida Kenko (author and Buddhist monk, 1283-1350)

Yoshida Kenko 吉田兼好 Yoshida Kenkoo

This is the essence of mono no aware.

The “Adashino” that Kenko referred to was the same Adashino Nembutsu-ji which was the object of my pilgrimage. Accounts of the creation of this temple and its cemetery vary, though most credit the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, Kooboo Daishi Kuukai Dashi (774-835), with establishing it to create a proper burial ground for the unclaimed deceased of Kyoto.

All the grave markers in the area were gathered, some 8,000 crude stone Buddhas and gorinto (stone pagodas), and assembled in a large courtyard outside the temple, arranged in rows around a central stupa.

The effect of the thousands of amassed weathered stones, arrayed as if listening to a sermon, is striking, even more so each August when a ceremony called Sentō Kuyō or “The Service of A Thousand Lights” is held. During this ceremony, thousands of people gather at nightfall and light votive candles before the stone Buddhas, lighting a path home for the anonymous dead spirits.

In the 12th century, Honen Shonin, the founder of Pure Land Buddhism, established a training center at the temple, “Nembutsu” referring to the Pure Land Buddhist devotional recitation. Much of the appeal of the Pure Land sect was its accessibility to commoners, as Buddhism was initially the religion of the ruling classes. At first it was not widely spread among common folk due to both its complexity and strictures on exactly who could worship and how. Pure Land Buddhism played a key role in the democratization of Buddhism, allowing those on the periphery of society to participate. Honen expressed the essence of Pure Land teaching, quite radical at the time, when he wrote:

“There shall be no distinction, no regard to male or female, good or bad, exalted or lowly; none shall fail to be in his Land of Purity after having called, with complete faith, on Amida [Buddha].”

This world of dew
Is only a world of dew
And yet ... oh yet ...


Read the rest of the story HERE !
by Kay Douglas (Idler)


There is another Nenbutsu-Ji in Kyoto,
Nishimura Kocho and the Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji
Gabi Greve

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


CLICK for original. www.answers.com

Adashino ni choo wa tsumi naku miyuru nari

in Adashi Field
the butterflies seem


Or: "a butterfly seems..."
Shinji Ogawa notes that Issa is punning in this haiku. Adashino means "Adashi Field" and "guilty field." The butterflies seem sinless, despite being in "Sinful Field."

Tr. David Lanoue


Two tsuke-ku, capped verse

in Adashi Field
the butterflies seem

so many little
piles of stones

Linda Papanicolaou, November 2007


in Adashi Field
the butterflies seem

the lightness of these
tiny piles of stones

Norman Darlington, November 2007

Related words

Adashiono was later relocated to this area
Toribeno Cemetery in Kyoto 鳥辺野

***** Light offerings afloat (tooroo nagashi, sentoo kuyoo) and more

***** Kobo Daishi, Kukai 弘法大師 空海

***** Saint Hoonen, Hoonen Shoonin, Honen 法然上人

***** Nenbutsu, Namu Amida Butsu, the Amida Prayer

***** Gorinto, stone grave markers

***** Saijiki of Japanese Ceremonies and Festivals


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, this information was so interesting, Gabi.