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Muroji, 004, Nio Gate, the entrance to the temple compound

Abstract

At Muroji, from the village, one crosses a foot bridge over the narrow Muro River to enter the grounds of the temple compound. Having crossed the bridge, the abbot's quarters and residence halls for the monks are straight ahead and to one's left. To the right is a walk leading to the Nio Gate, the entrance to the temple compound, proper, with its guardian figures on both sides of the gate. Also of interest at the gate is the stone stele, which is from the Edo period and which proclaims that Muroji is the "woman's Mt. Koya." At the great Mt.Koya center of Shingon Buddhism, founded by Kukai, women were forbidden from entering the precincts, while at Muroji they were welcomed and remain, today, important in their presence at Muroji. Passing through the gate, on one's right is the steep embankment of the river and, on one's left is a small pond with koi . The path ends straight ahead and at that point one turns left and ascends a set of stone steps to the next level of the compound, where the kondo and Mirokudo are located. This latter feature, the location of the kondo and Mirokudo to the left and on another level from the gate, is an important feature of Muroji. Until this time, Buddhist compounds in Japan followed more or less closely the classic scheme of Chinese Buddhist temples, in which the buildings were laid out symmetrically along a central axis, facing south. The variation at Muroji was a result, no doubt, of the topography of the site, that the compound is on the side of a mountain, rather than on a level site. The choice of that site, however, and the resulting rejection of a symmetrical axis, was significant and some say that this is an aspect of Muroji that represents an early Heian period "Japanization" of a Chinese model.

Note

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only, in accordance with Fair Use policies. Acknowledgement to be given to the IDEAS Project and to the photographer. Photographer retains copyright.

Administrative Notes

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only, in accordance with Fair Use policies. Acknowledgement to be given to the IDEAS Project and to the photographer. Photographer retains copyright.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Earlham College
PID
coccc:22482
Extent
960 pixels w x 696 high, 96 ppi