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TEMPLES & SHRINES

”Miidera” Home to the Legends and Secret Buddha from Otsukyo Period

”Miidera”
Home to the Legends and Secret Buddha from Otsukyo Period

DATA
Onjoji Tendaijimonshu Head Temple
246 Onjojimachi Otsu-shi Shiga

Origin of Miidera

Miidera is located at the foot of Mt. Hiei by the western shore of Biwa Lake of Otsu city in Shiga. The official name of Miidera is ”Nagarasan Onjoji”, and it is the Head temple of Tendaimon Sect, the 14th temple of pilgrimage of the 33rd Kannon Sacred Sites. Emperor Tenchi, who erected Otsu capital had planned to establish a temple at this location making the ”Miroku bosatsu” statue he always carried around for prayers as the principal statue of worship. However, he passed away without fulfilling his dream, so his son, Ohtomo no miko (Emperor Kobun) tried to fulfill his father’s dream. He too passed during the Jinshin War, along with the perishing of the Otsu capital itself. Later, Ohtomo no miko’s son, Yota no Ohkimi decided to create a temple with his grandfather’s ”Miroku bosatsu”. Emperor Tenmu, who had been hostile to Ohtomo no miko during the Jinshin war permitted his plea and named it ”Onjoji”.

”Phoenix Temple” always Revives

After the passing of Holy priest Chishoudaishienchin, who had established the foundation of Miidera as a teaching and training ”dojo” for Buddhism, collision between Mt. Hiei (Sanmon) and Miidera (Jimon) intensified. Genpei riots, Nanbokucho riots and other friction continued with fires being set, and each time, the temple would be driven close to ruins. The temple somehow revived each time, and is thus referred to as the ”Phoenix Temple”, the temple that always revives.

Important Cultural Asset and the Garden

Although Miidera was confronted with religious persecution many times, it owns large numbers of cultural assets. It amounts to 10 categories (64 items) of National Treasures, and 42 categories (720 items) of Important Cultural Assets, ranging from architecture, paintings, calligraphy, historical documents, etc. Nakata was taken on a tour around the ”Kojoin Garden”, a scenic historical site. The selected stones that are laid out circling the pond designed in the Chisen-style method are magnificent natural stones. This garden is plotted so it integrates with the reception hall with a profound appearance. The garden also represents life forTimes have changed, yet Miidera lives on with its beauty and continues to convey their teachings.

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