Kamakura – Part 4

Our next stop in Kamakura was the Kencho-Ji Temple.

Kencho-ji is the first-ranked of the five great Zen temples of Kamakura, and is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan. It was constructed by order of the Emperor Gofukakusa during the regency of Hojo Tokiyori (1227 – 63). Work was completed in the fifth year of the Kencho Era (1253), from which the name of the temple is taken.

k55a.jpg

k63a.jpg

k54a.jpg

The Founder of Kencho-ji was Rankei Doryu (Lan-hsi Tao-lung, 1213-78), a Chinese Zen master of the Sung Dynasty. He left China in 1246 to teach Zen in Japan, spending several years in Kyushu and Kyoto before coming to Kamakura to found Kencho-ji. After his death the memorial title “Daikaku Zenji” (Teacher of the Great Realization) was conferred upon him by Emperor Gouda. This was the first time in Japanese history that such a title was given to a priest of the Zen sect.

Something of the nature of Rankei Doryu’s teaching can been seen in the following quotation from his “Recorded Sayings”: If you have lost your true self, all phenomena bring you nothing but annoyance. If you discover your essence of mind, you can follow nothing but the true path.

Sanmon (Main Gate): The present Main Gate was built in 1754 by Bantetsu, the chief priest of Kencho-ji at the time. He was aided in this project by donations from the people of the Kanto (Eastern) region of Japan. Legend has it that a badger helped the cause by transforming himself into a monk, in order to repay the kindness he had been shown by the priests of Kencho-ji. Thus even now the Main Gate is called “Tanuki Mon” (Badger’s Gate).

Now I know why Shawn wanted to go to this Temple (and why his halo was shining so bright)!

k44a.jpg

k45a.jpg

k48a.jpg

k49a.jpg

 

Bonsho (Temple Bell): This bell, cast in 1255 and bearing an inscription by the Founder, Rankei Doryu, has been designated a National Treasure by the government of Japan.

k58a.jpg

 

Junipers: These trees, designated as Natural Treasures, were planted over 700 years ago from seed the Founder brought from China.

k60a2.jpg

 

Hojo (Main Hall): This building was moved to Kencho-ji from its original location at the Hanju Zanmai-in Temple in Kyoto. It was first used as the chief priest’s residence, but is now used in the performance of religious services for the believers of Kencho-ji.

k51a.jpg

You are required to remove your shoes to walk around the Main Hall and the Garden behind the hall. We were able to see the sights inside the hall, but were not allowed to take photos.

Garden: Located behind the Hojo is a large garden, designed by Zen master Muso Kokushi. The pond in this garden is in the shape of the character representing “mind”, and thus the pond is known as the “Shin-ji Ike” (“Mind Character Pond”).

k52a.jpg

k61aa.jpg

k50a.jpg

The information in italics is from the temple info pamphlet.

Before we end this post…the newest g-pa is is having a birthday today! Rather than post incriminating photos of you, we decided to just go with this…

k62a.jpg

Have a good birthday!

Advertisements
Posted in Japan. Tags: . 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Kamakura – Part 4”

  1. Beth Campau Says:

    Hi Tom,

    Happy Birthday Grandpa!!! Enjoy this day and be good to yourself!

    Eat some cake and enjoy the new wonderful “distraction” in your life. 🙂

    Take care, we love you!
    Beth, Greg, Leah and Shane

  2. JOE AND GINGER Says:

    Happy Birthday Brother!
    We wish you a very deserving wonderful birthday for a very deserving wonderful brother. Go ahead and Celebrate! Enjoy! Love, Ginger and Joe

    P.S You are much better looking that that cartoon picture!

  3. Stephanie Says:

    Uncle Tom…I wanted to send you some love from Lincoln and of course wish you a very Happy Birthday! I hope you are all trying to stay warm in Iowa…it has been ice storm after ice storm here! I am looking forward to seeing everybody on Christmas Eve…GET EXCITED! Happy Birthday again!
    Love, Stephanie

  4. Jennifer Says:

    Uncle Tom,

    I hope that you had a wonderful birthday. I can’t wait to see everyone at Christmas. Take care.

    Jennifer


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: