Friday, December 16, 2005

How to appreciate Japanese temples and shrines.日本の神社仏閣の楽しみ方(3)

Nichiren (日蓮)sect, rejecting Amida and Zen, insisted that the only true teaching lay in the Tendai sect’s tenet, the Lotus Sutra. The Toho-to, as a symbol of Lotus Sutra, is common in Nichiren temples.
The famous deity in Kamakura period is Jizo bosatsu(地蔵菩薩). Jizo is a bosatsu assigned by Amida to save souls during the Mappo. He is depicted as a mendicant monk, with shaved head, dressed in simple robes, and carrying a pilgrim’s staff. He is especially beloved because of his power to save children and sinners from purgatory and hell. He is also a road guardian and often stands by the roadside in group of six, one for each of the six realms of reincarnation.

Zen(禅)
In contrast to the many exotic deities of Mahayana pantheon, Zen deities are humans called Rakan. Rakan statues are often seen in Zen temple. Rakan is believes to reached the state of enlightenment equal to that of Shaka. Moreover, the portraits of famous priests are often found in Zen temples. This reflects the simplicity of Zen.

Zen stresses monastic life, but unlike the esoteric sect, it does not reject ordinary humanity. Monk is trained to forswear the five desires (property, sex, food, reputation, and sleep) and live strictly regulated by a series of bells and gongs. Every activity, no matter how mundane must be done with utmost awareness. Unlike the Esoteric sects, which try to elevate humans to a pure state trough austerities, secret chants, and rituals, Zen stresses on simple everyday life-practicing zazen, walking, washing, eating, bathing, and excreting which affected Zen temple architecture: kitchens, bathhouses, and latrine were brought into the garan and be considered intrinsic to the organization of the temple.

Zen temple plans are arranged according to the formal, rectilinear plan favored by China. Important halls are aligned along north-south axis: main gate(山門), Buddha hall(仏殿), lecture hall(法堂), monk dormitory(僧堂), kitchen(食院), lavatory(東可), and baht hall(浴室).In many Zen temples, the symmetric garan is usually overwhelmed by an organic chaos of subtemples that have grown up around it. It became customary for important priests to establish small residential subtemples, called tatchu. Moreover, these subtemples were built to pursue various arts- calligraphy, gardening, tea ceremony- and thereby became rich repositories of Japanese culture. However, these arts are different from other kinds of Japanese arts. In Zen, art is less a symbol with obvious religious content designed to teach or point beyond itself than a natural expression of and adjunct discipline for seated meditation or zazen. One famous Zen art is the rock garden at Ryoan-ji. The garden creates a Zen religio-aesthetic atmosphere of quietude and stillness, and express Zen idea that ‘form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

The Zen temple compound is entered by a bridge over a pond or steam, symbolically crossing from the earthly world to that of Buddha. Buildings are beautiful but natural looking. Often of unpainted wood; they are intended to be conducive to emptying the mind of worldly illusions and facilitating enlightenment.

The best Zen temples include the five great Zen temples in Kita Kamakura (建長寺、円覚寺、Jochi-ji, 浄明寺(Jomyo-ji), 重複時(Jufuku-ji), 大徳寺, 永平寺, and 南禅寺(in Kyoto).

What is more, most Japanese think of Buddhism in connection with funerals, therefore one often finds cemetery in many temples. In historic temples, one can find the tombs of important figures of the past; a gorin-to, a five-leveled stupa, indicates a person of high status. A tombstone shaped like the tip of a huge baseball bat marks the grave of an important priest.

In addition, many temples are historically associated with a nearby shrine or Okuno-in (Inner Sanctum), especially those which belong to Esoteric Buddhism which indicates the accommodation between this Buddhist sects and Shinto.

7 Comments:

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Rose Boonshuen said...

มีถึง 3 ภาคเลยเหรอคะ... น่าสนใจมากค่ะ ถ้ามีรูปประกอบด้วยคงเห็นภาพชัดขึ้น ^_^

แยกไม่ค่อยออกค่ะ ระหว่างศาลเจ้า กับ วัด ในญี่ปุ่น... ศาลเจ้า ยาสุคุนิ ที่นายกฯ โคอิสุมิ ไปทำความเคารพทุกปี เป็นแบบชินโต หรือ เซน หรืออะไรคะ ?

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger Steelers(钢人) said...

Hi Khun Rose. Thanks for reading my long and uninteresting writing. As a matter of fact, it is so long that what you have read is still not the end. Later on you will know the differences between Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples as the section of Shinto shrines will be posted later. But I can tell you roughly about the Yasukuni jinja where Koizumi souridaijin pay a visit every year. It is actually a Shinto shrine which is built to house all spirits of Japaese soldiers who dies during the WWII. Actually, Japanese gods are totally different from the western or indian gods we all have known. Everything can be regarded as a god in Japan. Therefore, there are so many kinds of shrines and the differences depend upon what purposes the shrine is constructed for. the types of shinto shrines range from national shrine like Meiji shrine or yasukuni shrine where important national figures are housed to local shrines where the local gods are housed khrab.

Zen has nothing to do with shinto shrine. It is one of the Japanese style of buddist sects.

Hope it is helpful

 
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