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Oldest Buddha statue enshrined  ”Zenkoji”

Oldest Buddha statue enshrined
”Zenkoji”

DATA
Shinshu Zenkoji
Nagano Moroyoshicho 491-i , Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture
https://www.zenkoji.jp/ENGLISH/about/

No matter how far, visit Zenkoji once at least

No Matter How Far, Visit Zenkoji Once at Least – this poem shows how Zenkoji was earnestly worshipped by the common people. The streets of the temple town is lined with various shops, making the area an attractive tourist spot for browsing.
Zenkoji is said to be founded around 642, the year Yoshimitsu Honda, the founding father, enshrined a Buddhist Image at the present site. In 644, by the order of the Emperor, a Buddhist temple was constructed.

Actually, the principal image of Zenkoji ”Ikko Sanzon Amida Nyoraizo (Amida Triad Sharing One Halo)” was brought to Japan from Baekje in 552, about 100 years before the construction of Zenkoji. This Amida is known as the oldest Buddhist statue, but it has been kept hidden since 654 and will not be exposed to the public eye. Even the chief priest is not allowed to take a look, and it can be said that it is a statue wrapped in the mysterious veil.

”Okaidan Meguri” a tour inside the principal image

Nakata experienced ”Okaidan Meguri”.
”Okaidan Meguri”, is a tour of the corridor which lies underneath ”Ruri Dan” where the principal image of Buddha is enshrined. The mission of this tour is to find and touch ”Gokuraku No Jomae (lock to paradise)” which is set right beneath the Buddha. By walking in the corridor room which represents the inside of the body of Buddha, people regarded the tour as a training for rebirth.

Zenkoji is famous for holding ”Gokaicho” every seven years. Since ”Gokaicho” is counted as first year, it is actually carried out every six years. In those years, several million people visit Zenkoji. In 2009, ”Gokaicho” was held in all six locations of Zenkoji around the country, and there were more than 6,500,000 visitors.

The song at the beginning ”No matter far away …” has a sequel. ”Tasuke Tamouzo Mida No Seigan” (You will have a salvation as in Amitabha’s Vow) It has been more than 1450 years since the arrival to Japan, but visitors still come to worship this precious Amitabha in the modern era.

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