Todai-Ji Nara


Temple Todai-Ji 東大寺

***** Location: Nara, Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Observance


Tōdai-ji (東大寺, Todaiji, Tōdai-ji, Toodaiji, Eastern Great Temple),
is a Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara, Japan.

Its Great Buddha Hall (大仏殿 Daibutsuden), the largest wooden building in the world, houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese simply as Daibutsu (大仏).

The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara.
Shika deer, regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, roam the grounds freely.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

- quote - Japan Times 2015 -
Great Buddha of Nara has only half its reported number of hair curls
The Great Buddha of Nara, a 15-meter-high statue listed among Japan’s national treasures, has only 492 spiraling curls of hair on its bronze head, not the 966 locks described in ancient documents, new research indicates.

The discovery was made via a 3-D analysis of the statue’s head using a laser scanning method, conducted by Takeshi Oishi, associate professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science, the temple in Nara where the statue is housed said Thursday on its website.

Todaiji temple asked Oishi to undertake the research because it kept receiving inquiries about the number of curls, known as “rahotsu,” on the Buddha’s head, with some visitors saying it seems the statue has many fewer curls than the number described in scrolls dating back nearly 1,000 years.

A question composed by the Mathematics Certification Institute of Japan further motivated the temple in the ancient Japanese capital to shed light on the issue, which “has remained a mystery to this day,” the temple said on its website.

When 966 hair locks are placed inside a circle, the question asks, what is the area of the smallest possible circle?

One hair curl is about 22 centimeters in diameter, 21 cm in height and weighs 1.2 kilograms.

The research required a laser beam because it is physically impossible to get behind the Buddha to count the number of locks there. A huge golden decoration representing a halo is located immediately behind the Buddha’s head, blocking access.

According to Oishi, it is estimated that the Buddha has 483 rahotsu and nine are missing, for a combined number of 492 — or just about half of the 966 mentioned in the earliest scrolls from the 1100s about the temple’s history. That number was repeated in later documents on the temple history compiled in the Edo (1603-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods.

However, it is still possible to assume that the statue did have 966 hair curls when it was originally built more than 1,200 years ago. The Buddha has been rebuilt each time it was damaged in war, making its seat and part of its knees the only surviving portions from the original built in 752 under the orders of Emperor Shomu to wish for peace and the stability of his nation.

- source : japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/12/03 -


observance kigo for late spring

jukai-e 授戒会 Jukai initiation ceremony
initiation ceremony for novice monks and lay people

Toodaiji jukai 東大寺授戒

It was first performed in the year 6 of the period Tenpyoo Shoohoo 天平勝宝 (754), when priest Ganjin came from China and initiated the emperor Shomu Tenno 聖武上皇, Koken Tenno 孝謙天皇 and others.
In the following year a special hall, Kaidan-In 戒壇院, was constructed for this ceremony, where the Jukai ceremony was performed.

At present initiation rituals for lay people are performed in June 結縁授戒.
The initiation rituals for priests and monks are performed in November 授戒.

Kaidan-In 戒壇院

Todai-ji Kaidan-in Jukai Shiki
ceremony to impart the Buddhist precepts on priests and nuns at Kaidan-in of Todai-ji Temple



source : www.asahi.com/culture

Monks entering the hall for the Jukai ceremony, which had not been held for 26 years before that, due to repairs of the temple.


Important yearly festivals of Todai-Ji

January 7 - Shushoo-e 修正会

February 3 - Setsubun 節分 万灯明 星祭

Around February 20 - Shuuni-e 修二会 別火坊

March 1 - 15 - Shuuni-e 修二会 本行

April 8 - 仏生会 Buddha's Birthday

May 2 - 最勝十講 聖武天皇御忌 Memorial for Emperor Shomu
May 3 - 山陵祭 - 献茶式(裏千家) Tea Ceremony

June 5 - Shunjoo Ki 俊乗忌(しゅんじょうき)
June 28 - Kejo-e 解除会(けじょえ)
Purification, to drive away evil influence from the first half of the year.

August 7 - 大仏さま お身拭い Daibutsu Festival
August 15 - Mantoo Kuyoo-e 万灯供養会

September 17 - O-Bon 十七夜・十七夜盆踊り

October 5 - 転害会 - showing of secret statues
October 15 - 大仏さま秋の祭り Autumn Festival for the Daibutsu

December 14 - 仏名会

December 16 - 良弁忌 Roben Memorial Day
(kigo for mid-winter)


amulet for traffic safety 交通安全 

Homepage of the temple
source : www.todaiji.or.jp

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 


- --- -Yokai Database

- Todaiji - 14 legends to explore -

- Daibutsu - 17 legends to explore -


Rooben Soojoo 良弁僧正 Roben Sojo (689 - 773)

The origin of Todaiji goes back to the Kinshoji, a temple that had existed in the eastern sector of the present Todaiji compound. Here, Roben (689-773), a scholar-monk of the Kegon sect who was to become the first abbot of Todaiji, had been active in 733. Roben is commemorated by a portrait-statue made around 1019 and kept in the Kaisando (founder's hall).

The kondo (main hall) of Kinshoji probably is the extant inner sanctuary of the hokkedo (lotus hall), popularly known as the Sangatsudo (Third Month Hall), where the Lotus Sutra (Hokekyo) is chanted yearly during the third month (sangatsu). The main icon of the hokkedo is the Fukukensaku Kannon, a splendid, dry-lacquer statue, made around 746. In 741 the Kinshoji became the provincial monastery-temple for Yamato Province (now Nara Prefecture). At that time the temple was renovated and renamed Konkomyoji after the Sutra of the Golden Light (J: Konkomyo kyo).

source : - Mark Schumacher

His statue is shown on December 16, on the memorial day of his death.

. Roben and the Oyama Fudo Myo-O .


jukai, o-jukai お授戒 initiation ceremonies are also performed by other Buddhist sects.

o-jukai ya niwa hirobiro to hana senpuu

jukai ceremony -
in the large garden
a whirlwind of blossoms

Matsufuji Kazan 松藤夏山

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Famous priests related to the temple Todai-Ji

. Priest Ganjin 鑑真 .

. Priest Chogen 重源 Choogen .

. Gyoki Bosatsu (Gyooki) 行基菩薩 .


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 :

. Daiji, ootera 大寺 large temple .
and haiku by Masaoka Shiki


When Matsuo Basho visited Todaiji in the year Genroku 2 in december, the temple was still under repair after the destruction wrought by the civil wars of the sixteenth century. The Great Buddha statue was only finally completed in 1692, after the visit by Basho described above, and the statue sat for years in the open like the Great Buddha in Kamakura.

The new Buddha Hall (which is the present one) was finally finished in 1708, and Basho did not live to see this. He grieved for the Buddha in its sad state, for at that time even the head had not been restored yet. Basho saw only the rump of the statue, slowly being covered by the first snow of the year, and he wrote:

hatsu yuki ya itsu Daibutsu no hashira date

first snow!
when will the temple building start
for the Great Buddha?

Tr. Ad G. Blankestijn

The year's first snowfall!
When are the columns of Daibutsu
Temple to be erected?

Tr. Oseko

Written in December Genroku 2. 元禄2年12月

Daibutsuden, the current Hall for the Great Buddha was built in 1709.

Barnhill translated:

Visiting the Southern Capital, I yearned for the eventual building of the Buddha Hall

first snow--
for the Great Buddha, when
will the columns be raised?

Barnhill also gives an earlier version of this hokku:

yuki kanashi itsu Daibutsu no kawarabuki

the snow is sad:
when will the Great Buddha
have its tiled roof?

It took about two years after the visit of Basho until the roof was preliminary fixed and the statue out of danger.

how sad to see it snowing!
when will the Gread Buddha Hall
get its roof tiled?

Tr. Gabi Greve

round tiles from the Daibutsu Hall
now a sweet from Nara
天平時代大仏殿の巴瓦 - tomoegawara

. . . CLICK here for Photos of the tiles !

Visiting temples with
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

. Hotoke, Daibutsu and Hokku .


source : facebook

Related words

***** . Drawing Sacred Well Water お水取り
O-Mizutori, Omizutori .

at the Nigatsudo hall of Todai-ji Temple.


. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 


. komainu 狛犬 / 高麗犬 / 胡麻犬 "Korean Dog" .

made by the Chinese sculptor Chinnakei 陳和卿 Chin Nakei, around 1196.
He had come from China on a mission to reconstruct the Todaiji in Nara.


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Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Masaoka Shiki visiting


News said...

After intermittent closures since 2010 for restoration work, Hokkedo Hall at the eighth-century Todaiji temple is set to reopen to the public on May 18 to show off its 1,000-year-old national treasures.

On a restored raised platform, visitors will be able to check out 10 Buddhist statues from the Nara Period (710-784) at the temple in Nara, Nara Prefecture.

Called "Shumidan," the restored platform is less crowded than before and offers modern LED lighting, the better to view the Buddhas, which have also been restored.

Shumidan used to house 16 statues, including the principal image of Fukukensaku Kannon, as well as Bonten.

But six figures, such as Nikko Bosatsu and Gakko Bosatsu, were transferred to the nearby quake-resistant Todaiji Museum. Hokkedo Hall is a national treasure and the oldest structure in the temple.

Asahi Shinbun

Gabi Greve said...

Founded temple
Senryuuji 泉龍寺 Senryu-Ji

御瀧山 - 明王院 Myo-O In 泉龍寺 - Otome Fudo 乙女不動尊
泉龍寺 Senryu-Ji

Gabi Greve said...

Todai-Ji Kagami-Ike 東大寺の鏡池

hi no tama 火の玉 ball of fire

If people try to steal fish from this pond, a ball of fire in red and blue comes out of the corridor of the temple Todai-Ji and keeps whirling above the head of the thief.
MORE about the Kagamiike of Japan

Gabi Greve said...

Two Fudo Statues made by Roben
Gofunai Pilgrimate Tokyo / Edo

Nr. 72 - Fudoo-in 寿 不動院 Kotobuki Fudo-In
- 阿遮山 Ashazan 不動院 Fudo-In 円満寺 Enman-Ji

Nr. 73 - Toogakuji 東覚寺 / 東覺寺 Togaku-Ji
- 法号山 Hogozan 明王院 Myo-O-In 東覚寺 Togaku-Ji

Gabi Greve said...

Kegon-shū 華厳宗 Kegon Sect Buddhism

Gabi Greve said...

During the 華厳会 Kegon ritual of painting eyes for the statue of the Great Buddha at the temple 東大寺 Todai-Ji an old man passing by, who had carried a bamboo basket with mackerels was summoned to read the Kegon Sutra. This was done because the 聖武天皇 Shomu Tenno (701 - 756) had a dream telling him to summon the first person passing the Hall in the morning should read the Sutra.
When the rituals were over, the old man suddenly disappeared.
The mackerels turned into 80 volumes of the 華厳経 Kegon Sutra.
The old man had been an incarnation of the Buddha himself.

The old man had forgotten his 杖 walking staff in the Eastern part of the temple, where it turned into a tree in the course of time. Now it is known as
saba no ki 鯖の木 the mackerel tree.

Gabi Greve said...

Kobayashi Issa

asa-zamu ya chafuku de meguru shichidaiji

morning cold--
bloated with tea, visiting
seven temples

The Nanto Shichidaiji are the seven temples of Nara. Issa jokes that, after having tea at each one, he is blasted.

David Lanoue

Gabi Greve said...

Hashibaji Fudo-In 橋場寺不動院 Temple Hashiba-Ji Fudo-In
2 Chome-14-19 Hashiba, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0023

with a statue made by Royben

Gabi Greve said...

Migawari Fudo 身代わり不動 Fudo as substitute
如意山 Nyoinzan 吉祥院 Kichijo-In 延命寺 Enmei-Ji

栃木県栃木市大平町西水代1864-1 / Gunma Tochigi city, Ohiramachi, Nishi-Mizushiro
Founded by 良弁上人 Saint Roben