This image shows the front of the Hall for Memorial Tablets, also known as the Hall of Eternal Light. As is seen here, the structure is extended out in space on scaffolding over the steep hillside. The white pieces of paper along the lines between posts on the edge of the porch are omikuji, printed "fortunes." They have been tied to the line here with a prayer that the deity may assist in the fulfillment of the fortune. Omikuji are very commonly found at Shinto shrines and represent, perhaps, a crossing over of a practice between Shinto and Buddhism.
The entrance to the Hall for Memorial Tablets, at Muroji is on ground level of a small level area. Most of the hall, however, is built out over the steep hillside, supported on scaffolding, as shown in this image taken from the stone stairs as one approaches the small plateau.
A printed prayer or fortune, an omikuji , obtained at a shrine or a temple, may be tied to a line or, often, to a branch, in effect, as a prayer to the deity of the shrine or temple, seeking their aid in bringing it true. This line of such fortunes is at Muroji, a Buddhist temple in the countryside in Nara Prefecture. Although they are most commonly seen at Shinto shrines, this group is at a Buddhist temple. Keywords: omikuji , fortune see also: ecasia000035, 000059
The north side of the Kondo at Horyuji, as seen from the northern side of the compound, in front of the Kodo, looking southward. Built as what appears to be two stories (the second story is a false story), on a stone platform, it has a strong upward thrust, which is based on continental models, and is an interesting contrast to later Japanese Buddhist structures (see, e.g., the Kondo at Muroji and that Hoodo at Byodoin). Compare this image with view 03, noting that the Kondo, while having four entrances corresponding to the four directions, is not symmetrical, with the east-west axis being two bays wider that the north-south axis.
A detailed view of the lower stories of the Five-storied Pagoda (and west face of the Kondo) at Horyuji, as seen from the slight turn in the cloister walk, as noted in view 07. Note, as in mentioned in view 9, that the first story of the original design has been covered with an added-on corridor surrounding the original first story. This added corridor and its slight roof partially obscure the proportions of the overall structure of the pagoda.
This image shows the interior of the Hall for Memorial Tablets, the Hall of Eternal Light, at Muroji, built in the early 20th century. A monthly memorial service for Kukai is held here and memorial services for residents of the local village are celebrated here. -- The different traditions of Buddhism, such as esoteric Buddhism or Pure Land, as well as different schools, such as Tendai and Shingon, sometimes employ differing ritual objects in their ceremonies, objects that have grown out of differing historic traditions, some based in very ancient Indian rituals, some in Tibetan Buddhism, etc. Nonetheless, in this image we can see ritual objects that are common across various schools. These include, most basically, before the altar, an incense burner, candlesticks, and flower vases, objects found before any Buddhist altar, including home altars. Other objects seen here and common across traditions include the "bell" on the right, struck to announce the opening of services, the square area for the celebrants defined by the low railing, the canopies (often stylized lotus blossoms constructed of wood or metal) or banners over altars and images, small square tables flanking the cushion of the celebrant, tables used to hold ritual objects or offerings, a low table directly in front of the celebrant that may hold offerings and serve as sutra lectern. To the right here we see part of the rim of a taiko, a large, powerful drum, one of a variety of musical instruments often employed in ceremonies.
Standing on the veranda on the left side of the Initiation Hall, looking up, back, and to the left of the Initiation Hall, one sees the five-story pagoda that rises through the trees behind the Initiation Hall. This image gives a clear sense of the location of the pagoda in relation to the Initiation Hall and also a clear indication of the lack of symmetry of the positioning of the various elements of the compound at Muroji.
The Five-storied pagoda at Horyuji is an original structure remaining from the late 7th c., when the compound at Horyuji was built. The ground floor of the Horyuji pagoda is surrounded by a narrow corridor with a slight roof covering it. This corridor and its roof, not part of the original structure, hide the proportional relationship of the original ground story and the top story of the pagoda -- the width of the top story is one half that of the ground story; the intermediate stories step in in equal amounts as we move from one to the next. The result of this stepping-in is a visual sense of soaring and lightness as the pagoda rises, creating a sense of elegance and a perception, illusion, of great height. -- The famous tableau of the death of the Buddha and the tableau of the Yuima-Monju debate, sculpted in clay in the early 8th c., are in the ground story of the Five-storied Pagoda. [c. 711, early Nara period (Tenpyo)]
For a donation of 100 yen, one may obtain a printed fortune, an omikuji . The black case contains a collection of sticks, each with a number on it. There is a small hole in the lid of the case. One would pick up the case, shake it to mix up the sticks, then turn the case upside down and shake one stick out through the hole in the lid. The number on that stick would direct one to one of the numbered drawers in the cabinet next to the table, where one would find one's fortune. A good fortune may be tied to a line, in effect, as a prayer to the deity of the shrine or temple, seeking their aid in bringing the fortune true. Very commonly seen at shrines, this particular cabinet is at Muroji, a Buddhist temple. Keywords: omikuji see also: ecasia000037
The Yumedono, Hall of Dreams, part of the eastern temple compound at Horyuji (perhaps 100 or so yards east of the main compound of Horyuji). It is a beautifully designed and proportioned octagonal building, constructed on a stone platform with four stairways corresponding with the four directions. On the peak of the tile roof is a metal jewel representing the jewel of Buddhist wisdom. The hall was built on the site of a private chapel that had been built for Shotoku. The important sculpture known as the Guze Kannon is housed in the Yumedono (it is placed on display one day each year).
A pleasant image. Afternoon sun casting a pattern of light and shadow through the wooden grill work of the western wall of the walk surrounding the compound at Horyuji,looking northward at the point at which the image in view 7 was taken.