Monday, March 2, 2009

Nanzenji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Nanzen-ji is considered the most famous and important Zen temple in the world. Home of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism the temple consists of 12 sub-temples, which only a few are open to the public. Also within the temple grounds are several gardens, of which only three are available to be viewed. Two of the sub-temples also serve vegetarian lunches.
Emperor Kameyama (1249-1305) built his detached palace here in 1264. He later became a student of the Zen Master Busshin Daimin Kokushi, and he dedicated the palace as a Zen temple in 1291. Nanzenji went on to become one of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto. As the headquarters of the Nanzenji branch of the Rinzai school of Zen, it is also one of the most important Zen temples in the world. Throughout its history, the abbot of Nanzenji was always chosen as the best Rinzai Zen Master in each period. Rinzai Zen was introduced to Japan by the Chinese priest Ensai in 1191 and emphasizes the use of koans, paradoxical puzzles or questions that help the practitioner to overcome the normal boundaries of logic. The 15th-century Onin Civil War demolished the original temple buildings, but some were rebuilt during the 16th century. The temple's large entrance gate (Sanmon) was completed in 1628.

Information reference:
http://www.yamasa.org/japan/english/destinations/kyoto/nanzenji.html
Photo: Mero Dolakha

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