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  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Scripture Hall
    Hasedera - Scripture Hall

    Copies of scriptures hand-scribed by the faithful are stored in this hall. Many short, and sometimes long, Buddhist texts are copied as part of a practice that accumulates merit. The Heart Sutra (Hannya Shingyo) is a one-page text widely copied throughout Buddhist East Asia. This merit is often dedicated to a deceased or ill loved-one with the hope that they fare well.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Interior of Kobo Daishi Hall
    Hasedera - Interior of Kobo Daishi Hall

    This is the chandelier-like canopy above the statue of Kobo Daishi, in which are carved images of various Buddhas.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Alongside covered stairway
    Hasedera - Alongside covered stairway

    This is the view of the perimeter of the stairs leading to the main temple visible above. The terraces and the rain gutter are made of hand-placed stone. Note the small stone bridges apparently designed for access to the plants across the gutter.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kobo Daishi Hall
    Hasedera - Kobo Daishi Hall

    This hall enshrines a portrait of the founder of the Shingon school of Japanese Buddhism, Kobo Daishi (Kukai).

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - View from front entrance of sub-temple
    Hasedera - View from front entrance of sub-temple

    This lovely sub-temple at Hasedera (same one as picture 24), offers a fine glimpse from its entrance way down a long corridor of the back garden.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Five-layered pagoda
    Hasedera - Five-layered pagoda

    This view of Hasedera's lovely pagoda, or stupa, is from the balcony of the main hall, where a bell is visible hanging from the corner of an eave.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Entrance to subsidiary temple
    Hasedera - Entrance to subsidiary temple

    A view through the gate of one of the larger sub-temples within the Hasedera complex.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    This is an infrared photo of the tall Kannon image of the main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - View of main hall
    Hasedera - View of main hall

    This is the view of the main hall from the sub-temple shown in cocrejpn0024.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Fudo image
    Hasedera - Fudo image

    Statue of Fudo Myo-o within sub-temple.

  • Thumbnail for Ichi no hashi bridge entrance to Oku-no-in
    Ichi no hashi bridge entrance to Oku-no-in

    This is the bridge marking the entrance to what is often called Japan's grandest -- both largest and most magnificent -- cemetery. A two kilometer (1.3 mile) stone path through an ancient cryptomeria forest leads to the tomb of Kukai (posthumously Kobo Daishi), founder of the Shingon school and the first to found a temple at Koyasan, in 817. Throughout the forest along both sides of the path, and often up and over small hills behind the trees, are thousands upon thousands of gravestones that have been built up around Kukai's tomb over the millenia.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Shrine
    Hasedera - Shrine

    Just behind the main plaza is this Shinto shrine dedicated to the local deity.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Interior of main hall
    Hasedera - Interior of main hall

    The spacious interior of the main hall has natural light entering from three sides. The central image of Kannon is just off the right edge of this photo, behind the glass case for candle offerings to the bodhisattva.

  • Thumbnail for Random view along Okunoin path
  • Thumbnail for Views enroute to Okunoin
    Views enroute to Okunoin

    One of many old stone images in the forest.

  • Thumbnail for Random grave along path to Okunoin
    Random grave along path to Okunoin

    Like many graves, the main stone here has the geometric shapes marking Buddhist symbolism but the surrounding structures are clearly Shinto toriis. This natural blending of features of both traditions was exceedingly common in premodern Japan.

  • Thumbnail for Random view from main path to Okunoin
    Random view from main path to Okunoin

    The pillar to the left designates the small hall behind the tree as one dedicated to some practices of the Shingon school.

  • Thumbnail for Sign along path to the Garan complex
    Sign along path to the Garan complex

    This long path leads from the Kongobuji temple to the Garan, which is a complex of buildings such as large pagodas and halls for worship. There are several signs like this one in Koyasan (often with their idiosyncratic English renderings) that show support for the town being recognized by UNESCO as a site on their World Heritage List. As of 2003 Japan has ten sites so recognized.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo statue in forest
    Jizo statue in forest

    One of thousands of statues of Jizo, the merciful deity who is commonly entreated to assist children who have died young, especially even prior to birth. These statues are often dressed in caps and aprons. This clothing is sometimes placed there by a bereaved mother, or sometimes by any warm-hearted person who happens to be fond of keeping little Jizo neatly dressed.

  • Thumbnail for Forest scene enroute to Okunoin
    Forest scene enroute to Okunoin

    The space beside the pathway is often filled with a vast collection of devotional pieces likely placed by different people centuries apart. The scenery weaves a tale of religious sentiment right into the very fabric of the forest.

  • Thumbnail for Tour group at Koyasan
    Tour group at Koyasan

    The guide (arms up in green shirt) leads a tour through the forest path enroute to Okunoin.

  • Thumbnail for Another Jizo
  • Thumbnail for Pouring water on Jizo statue
    Pouring water on Jizo statue

    Near the end of the path to Okunoin, just prior to crossing the last bridge before going up to Kukai's mausoleum, there is a line of statues with water troughs in front of them. Vistors pour water over the statues as an act of devotion. This ritual action shares something both with the cleansing of the mouth prior to entering a Shinto shrine, where the same sort of ladle and trough is used, as well as the cleansing of ancestral gravestones that is practiced in August during the Obon season.

  • Thumbnail for Imperial burial ground
    Imperial burial ground

    This is another view of the space in cocrejpn0196.

  • Thumbnail for Corner view of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum