Japan art and Zojoji Buddhist Temple in the snow (Jodo Buddhism)

Japan art and Zojoji Buddhist Temple in the snow (Jodo Buddhism)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Jodo shu (Pure Land Sect) of Buddhism in Japan was founded by Honen (1133-1212). Accordingly, Honen created the first independent branch of Pure Land Buddhism – which entered Japan many centuries before.

Honen was a Buddhist reformer who upset the status quo among the elites. Hence, in the late stages of his life, he was arrested during the reign of Emperor Tsuchimikado (1196-1231). Naturally, power concentration dynamics were behind the arrest of Honen. After all, the Emperor was too young – and his reign only lasted between 1198-1210 (dominated by political elites).

The Zojoji Buddhist website says, “Zojoji was relocated to the present site in 1598 after Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, entered Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1590 to establish his provincial government. After the start of the Edo Period when the Tokugawa shogunate ruled Japan, Zojoji became the family temple of the Tokugawa family and an unparalleled grand cathedral was built. Zojoji also served as an administrative center to govern the religious studies and activities of Jodo shu…”

Honen (Tsuneni Oserarekeru Okotoba – Common Sayings of Hōnen) supposedly uttered, “[I lack] the wisdom to teach others. Ku Amida Butsu of Hossho-ji, though less intelligent, contributes in leading the people to the Pure Land as an advocate of the nembutsu. After death, if I could be born in the world of humans, I would like to be born a very ignorant man and to diligently practice the nembutsu.”

The first art piece is by Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) – and the second by Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870-1949). Inoue-Yasuji (1864-1889) completed the last art piece in 1884. Sadly, he died a few years later at a young age.

The tranquility of this Buddhist temple – and the environs – is misleading in recent history. Accordingly, an anti-Buddhist period began during the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912). This was followed by being bombed by America during the war.

https://www.zojoji.or.jp/en/ Zojoji Buddhist Temple website

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