Kofukuji Nara


Temple Kofuku-Ji

***** Location: Nara
***** Season: See below
***** Category: Observance


Kōfuku-ji (興福寺, Kōfuku-ji)
is a Buddhist temple in the city of Nara, Nara Prefecture, Japan. The temple is the national headquarters of the Hosso(“Dharma characteristics”) sect and is one of the eight Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Hosso sect is also known as the yuishiki(“mind only”) sect. The teaching was first brought to China from India by the T'ang Dynasty monk Genjo, whose travels are well known from his journal entitled “Travels to the West". Genjo transmitted the Hosso teachings, as found in the Yuishiki-ron (“Treatise on Mind Only”), to his disciple Jion Daishi,who is considered the founder of the Hosso school in China. These doctrines were introduced to Kofukuji by the monk Genbo (d. 746), who studied in China from 716-735.

Kōfuku-ji has its origin as a temple that was established in 669 by Kagami-no-Ōkimi (鏡大君), the wife of Fujiwara no Kamatari, wishing for her husbands’s recovery from illness. Its original site was in Yamashina, Yamashiro Province (present-day Kyoto). In 672, the temple was moved to Fujiwara-kyō, the first artificially planned capital in Japan, then again in 710, moved to its current place, on the east side of the newly constructed capital, Heijō-kyō, today's Nara.

Kōfuku-ji was the Fujiwara's tutelary temple, and enjoyed as much prosperty, and as long as the family did. The temple was not only an important center for the Buddhist religion, but also retained influence over the imperial government, and even by "aggressive means" in some cases. When many of the Nanto Shichi Daiji such as Tōdai-ji -declined after the move of capital to Heian-kyō (Kyoto), Kōfuku-ji kept its significance because of its connection to the Fujiwara. The temple was damaged and destroyed by civil wars and fires many times, and was rebuilt as many times as well, although finally some of the important buildings, such as two of the three golden halls, the nandaimon, chūmon and the corridor were never reconstructed and are missing today.

Tōkon-dō (East Golden Hall) (東金堂), 1425
Five-storied pagoda (五重塔, gojū-no-tō), 1426
Three-storied pagoda (三重塔, sanjū-no-tō), 1185-1274
Hoku'en-dō (North Octagonal Hall) (北円堂),1210
Nan'en-dō (South Octagonal Hall) (南円堂), 1741
Ōyūya (Bath House) (大湯屋) 1394-1427

source : Wikipedia

Kofuku-Ji, Architecture and Buddhist Sculptures
- Mark Schumacher -

The most famous statue of an Ashura is at the temple Kofuku-jiin Nara.
. Ashura, Asura (あしゅら) 阿修羅 .


kigo for late spring

Koofukuji Monju e 興福寺文殊会 (こうふくじもんじゅえ)
ceremony for Monju Bosatsu at temple Kofuku-Ji

April 25

Children in old costumes parade around the compound.
People attend with the wish for better learning and a good career for their children.

CLICK for more photos !

Monju represents wisdom, intelligence, learning and willpower.
. Monju Bosatsu 文殊菩薩 Manjushri .


kigo for early winter

Koofukuji hokke e 興福寺法華会 (こうふくじほっけえ)
ceremony of the Lotus Sutra at temple Kofuku-Ji

On the 6th day of the 10th lunar month (now in November)
At the South Octagonal Hall, reading the Lotus Sutra.
In memoriam of Fujiwara Uchimaro 藤原内麻呂
(756 - October 6, 812 (lunar calendar, now November 13).
He was the father of Fujiwara Fuyutsugu 藤原冬嗣 (775 - 826).

Hokkekyoo, Hokekyoo 法華経; Saddharma-pundariika-suutra

The Lotus Sutra, Hokke-kyoo 法華経、describes various deities as Bosatsu concerned with light offerings.

Niman Toomyoobutsu二萬燈明仏
Sanman Toomyoobutsu三萬燈明仏
Nichi-gatsu Toomyoobutsu日月燈明仏, the Sun and Moon Light Offering Buddhas
Myookoo Bosatsu妙光菩薩

. Light Offering Bosatsu .


Yuima E 維摩会 (ゆいまえ) ceremony for Yuima
Koofukuji Yuima e 興福寺維摩会(こうふくじゆいまえ)

..... Joomyoo e 浄名会(じょうみょうえ)
(Jomyo is another name fro Yuima, Vimalakirti.)

From the10th to the 16th day of the 10th lunar month (now November)
Ceremonies in honor of Yuima.

Fujiwara Kamatari 藤原鎌足 named his villa in Yamashina "Yamashina Temple 山階寺 " and there begun to teach his vasalls about Yuima.
Together with
Go Sai E, Mi Sai E 御斎会 (seven days from Januray 8) and
Saijoo E 最勝会 (seven days from March 7),
this is one of the three great ceremonies at Kofuku-Ji.

Yuima Koji, a wealthy Indian who sought solace in Buddhism, was regarded in China as a paragon of virtue. He is often regarded as the first Zen Buddhist Master. His disupte with Monju Bosatsu Manjushri has often been depicted. His popularity here stemmed from the balance he made between disengagement with worldly attachments and family responsibility, a trait highly valued in the country. Ryukei I himself tried to closely follow Koji's example.
. Sculptor Shimizu Ryukei 清水隆慶 .

Yuima Koji (Vimalakirti) 維摩居士(ゆいまこじ)
Laienbuddhist aus Vaisali, Indien.
Er war ein sehr gelehrter Mann. Als er krank lag, erschien Monju, der Bosatsu der höchsten Weisheit, und beide diskutierten mit~einander. Dabei soll Yuima durch paradoxe Aussprüche (z.B. "Schweigen wie ein Donnerschlag") das innerste Wesen des Buddhismus beschrieben und sich dem Monju überlegen erwiesen haben. Vimalakirti verkörpert eine Laienfigur. Er ist kein Priester und kein Mönch. Seine Person wird in vielen Reliefs und Gemälden als ganz normaler Mann dargestellt. Der Disput mit Monju ist im Sutra Yuimakyoo festgehalten.

Abbildungen dieser Szene finden sich in den Wandgemälden der Höhlentempel in Dun Huang in China und im Tempel Horyuuji, Nara.

- Buddhastatuen ... Who is Who
Ein Wegweiser zur Ikonografie
von japanischen Buddhastatuen
Gabi Greve

Vimalakirti debating Manjusri

- Reference : Vimalakirti

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Amulets from Kofuku-Ji

for a happy family

for traffic safety 交通安全

clover for good luck クローバー

Homepage of Kohfuku-Ji Temple Complex

February, on Setsubun Day: Demon Chasing Ceremony; Eastern Golden Holl.
February 15: Nirvana Ceremony (in commemoration of the death of the Buddha)
March 5 : Ceremony in Memorial of Genjo; Main office complex.
April 8 : Buddha's Birthday Ceremony; Southern Octagnal Hall.
April 17 : Life Releasing Ceremony; Hitokoto-Kannon Hall.
April 25 : Manjusri Ceremony; Eastern Golden Holl,
May 11/12 : Takigi Noh drama; Southern Main Gate.
July 7 : Benzaiten Festival; Three Storied Pagoda.
October 17 : Daihannya Ceremony; Southern Octagonal Hall.
November 13 : Ceremony in Memorial of Jion Daishi 慈恩大師; Kari-kondo.

source : www.kohfukuji.com

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 


akikaze ya kakoi mo nashi ni Koofukuji

autumn wind -
temple Kofuku-Ji
without a fence

Masaoka Shiki




. Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 visiting shrines and temples .


Rain at Kofukuji Temple, Nara
Tsuchiya Koitsu 土屋浩一 (1870-1949)

Related words

***** . WKD : Place Names used in Haiku  

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 

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Gabi Greve said...

One of the seven BIG TEMPLES of Nara

There used to be seven large temples in Nara, Nanto Shichi Daiji 南都七大寺
Nanto Shichi doo 南都七堂 - shichi daiji 七大寺 :

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

ro fusagi ya toko wa yuima ni kakekaeru

fermant l’âtre,
je remplace la peinture dans l’alcôve
par une de Yuima
(Tr. Daniel Py)

Quand on ferme l’âtre, au printemps, on change la peinture dans le tokonoma, l’alcôve. Le printemps est arrivé avec toute sa joie et son activité, mais nous disons au-revoir à l’âtre, ce vieil ami, et un léger sentiment de solitude nous envahit. Pour cette raison il choisit une peinture de Yuima, malade parce que le monde entier était malade, et qui, quand on lui demanda la signification des choses, répondit par le silence. (. . .)
R.H. Blyth.
tokonoma 床の間 alcove for decorations, art nook

Gabi Greve said...

Tookondoo 東金堂 Tokon-Do "Eastern Golden Hall"
at Temple Kofuku-Ji
Genshoo Daijoo Tennoo 元正太上天皇 Gensho Daijo Tenno - Ex-Empress Gensho

Statue of Yakushi Nyorai Sanzon

Gabi Greve said...

Chuusan Shoonin, Chūzan, Chūsan 中算上人 (ちゅうざん) Saint Chuzan

He is Nr. 32 of
. 日本の仙人37人 - The 37 Immortals of Japan .

Not much to be found about this Immortal.
(935 - 976)

山階寺の僧である中算 Chuzan from temple Yamashinadera
興福寺の僧である中算 Chuzan from the temple Kofuku-Ji