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Bruce A. Coats

[Kūtaiji; Kūdaiji; Kubonji]

Buddhist temple and garden near Nara in the Sōraku District, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. It is a temple of the Pure Land (Jōdo) sect of Esoteric Buddhism. The present compound contains a honden (main hall), a pagoda and a pond garden. Alone among Pure Land temples, Jōruriji retains its original 12th-century garden designed to look like the Western Paradise. Temple records indicate that the temple was established in 1047 with the construction of a honden dedicated to Yakushi (Skt Bhaishajyaguru; the Buddha of healing). It was reconstructed in 1107 as a hall for the worship of Amida (Skt Amitabha; Buddha of the Western Paradise) and moved to its present position in 1157.

The Amida Hall (Amidadō) stands on the western side of the pond. It is a wooden post-and-beam structure in the yosemune zukuri (‘hipped-gable roof construction’) format, 11 bays long and 4 bays deep, and is the only extant example of a ...

Article

Bruce A. Coats

(b Ise Prov. [now in Mie Prefect.], 1275; d Kyoto, 1351).

Japanese Zen master, poet, scholar and garden designer. As spiritual adviser to both Emperor GoDaigo (reg 1318–39) and the military leaders who overthrew him, Musō was politically influential and acted as mediator during the civil wars of the 1330s. At various times in his life Musō served as abbot of Nanzenji, one of the various Gozan (Five Mountains) Zen monasteries including Nanzenji in Kyoto (see Kyoto §IV 4.). The support of both imperial and shogunal courts enabled him to found many new Rinzai Zen temples. He was instrumental in popularizing Zen teachings, though also criticized for the secularization of some Zen institutions. Three times during his life and four times posthumously he was given the honorific title kokushi (National Master).

Musō began Buddhist studies at the age of three. Although his early training was in the Esoteric Tendai and Shingon doctrines, attraction to Zen brought him to Kamakura, where he received instruction from the Japanese disciples of distinguished Chinese Chan (Jap. Zen) monks, including Kōhō Kennichi (...