Monday, October 15, 2012

Tōdai-ji, Nara

It would seem silly to complain about a trip to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan full of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Nevertheless, I didn’t work out the way I planned. First of all, it is infested with annoying and sometimes scruffy looking deer (image below left). One of them ripped my bag and scattered my belongings all over the street.

I wanted to go to Nara to see Todai-ji and Toshodai-ji temples. Todai-ji was a natural choice as Nara’s main attraction, while Toshodai-ji interested me as a presumed birth place of bonsai in Japan (although there is hardly any evidence of that). After visiting Todai-ji, I abandoned my Toshodai-ji plans in favor of visiting Shosei-en bonsai nursery. Todai-ji was majestic. Image above right shows Todai-ji’s main attraction - the Great Buddha Hall. Image below left shows the Great Southern Gate, while image below right shows the gate to the Great Buddha Hall complex.

The temple had a lot happening that day. There were processions, performances and lots of worshipers (images below).

There were a couple of interesting accessories outside the Great Buddha Hall. One of them was a very fine joss stick urn with beautiful patina (below left). The other is a large and very ornate lantern (below center). I was especially intrigued by one image on the lantern, which bore a remarkable semblance to Hindu deity Krishna (below right).

The Great Buddha Hall was as impressive inside. Images below show the giant idols housed inside it (left to right): Komoku-ten (Guardian of the West), Kannon (Goddess of Mercy), Daibutsu (the Great Buddha), Tamon-ten (Guardian of the North). All except Buddha are Hindu deities incorporated into Buddhism.

In retrospect, I wish I spent more time exploring Todai-ji grounds.

1 comment:

marc said...

Todai-ji is wonderful temple. Omamori (japanese charms) of Todai-ji you can buy on ... I love Japan! ... I hope one day to get back on Japan