Kodosan Monuments and Buildings

The Buddha Relics Tower
The Buddha Relics Tower

The Buddha Relics Tower is a two-storied pagoda of Kamakura style architecture, which was completed in May 1960 to enshrine the holy Buddha Relics and the Inextinguishable Light. Thirty meters high, the Tower has a floor space of more than six hundred square meters. It consists of the Main Buddha Relics Hall, a Worship Hall and a Crypt. The sacred Relics of the Buddha are enshrined in a small pagoda in the Main Buddha Relics Hall, and the Inextinguishable Light shines on both of its sides. A stone statue of a celestial being called gigeiten decorates the interior of the Hall. The ceiling has gorgeous paintings of goddesses, lions, phoenixes, and dragons. Mount Gridhrakuta, a mountain near Rajagriha where Shakyamuni Buddha once lived, with clouds and a white elephant are painted on the stained glass symbolizing devotion and purity. The Worship Hall and the Crypt form the basement of the Main Buddha Relics Hall. The spacious Worship Hall is connected to the main temple through an underground passage. The Crypt is decorated with beautiful wall paintings and in its center there is a Buddha statue presented by the King of Nepal.

The Main Worship Hall
The Main Worship Hall

The Main Worship Hall was constructed in 1980. It is a wonderful blend of the traditional architecture of Japanese Buddhist temples and modern facilities. Two pieces of jurinbo decorating the wing towers of the Hall symbolize the Kodo Kyodan insignia of Ten Circles. Sunlight comes through twelve skylights on the roof and provide enough light to read sutras without any artificial lighting arrangement. In addition to air conditioning for the summer, the Hall is heated from under the floor during Winter. The height of the ceiling from the ground is about seven and a half meters. The green carpet of the Main Hall symbolizes the green lawn of the Deer Park where the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon.The Hall can accommodate more than two thousand people.

The Inner Sanctuary of the Main Hall enshrines the Lotus Sutra and the Kodo Kyodan Mandala, the main object of worship. Wooden life size statues of the Founder Presidents are also enshrined in it. During special ceremonies and services, the Mandala and the statues of the Founder Presidents are opened to the public. The canopy in the Inner sanctuary has ten round lights modelled after the insignia of Kodo Kyodan.

The Katayama Paintings, which decorate the Main Hall, are a few masterpieces of Japanese style painting done by Nampu Katayama, one of the most distinguished Japanese style painters. These paintings depict four events in the life of Lord Buddha: his birth, enlightenment, the first sermon, and his pari-nirvana. The Delightful Moment Painting, symbolizing the birth of Lord Buddha, and the Auspicious Clouds Painting are located in the Presidents’ office. The Deer Park Painting is done on the sliding doors on both sides of the Inner Sanctuary and symbolizes Lord Buddha’s first sermon. The Enlightenment painting and the Eternal Light painting, symbolizing Lord Buddha’s death, decorate the Consultation Room. The Mt. Himalaya Painting is located in the lobby of the temple.

The Mausoleum of the Founder Presidents was built in 1982. For its construction, black and red stone was imported from India and sand from Mount Teintai in China. The area of the sanctum sanctorum situated in the center of the rostrum is about twenty-five square meters. A golden spire decorates the roof of the temple made of copper plates. Lord Buddha’s relics from the Kelaniya temple in Sri Lanka and the remains of the Founder Presidents are enshrined in the center of the sanctum sanctorum. The Mausoleum is open to the public everyday between 9:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Mahakala Temple
The Mahakala Temple

The octagonal Mahakala temple situated on the top of the Daikoku Complex enshrines the statue of the god Mahakala. It was constructed in 1990. In ancient India, Mahakala was worshipped as the god of war. In Japanese Buddhism, however, Mahakala came to be known as the god of fortune. The story goes that one day the god appeared before Dengyo Daishi, the founder of Japanese Tendai Buddhism, and promised him to make the Buddhist temples prosperous. Dengyo Daishi was so impressed by the appearance of the god that he carved its sculpture. This sculpture is enshrined in the Mt. Hiei temple in Kyoto and worshipped as a deity. Mahakala also appeared in a dream of Rev. Soken Enami, the Archbishop from Mt. Hiei during the 1950s, and said,“Mt. Hiei is almost fully developed, so I do not have any task here. I would like to go to Kodosan, which is making great efforts to spread the teachings of Lord Buddha and give spiritual help to the people there. I want to help them build new temples and give my blessings to the followers of Kodosan.” In this way, Mahakala moved to Kodosan from Mt. Hiei in 1956 in a ceremony led by Rev. Enami. To consecrate the Mahakala temple, Vice President Mrs. Rinko Okano conducts a special, yokubei-ku service in April, July, and November.

The Kodo Kindergarten was opened in 1967 to nurture boys and girls who could learn the teachings of Lord Buddha from their early childhood. Rev. Kimiko Okano became its founder principal. The study and teaching of Buddhist virtues and way of life is an integral part of the syllabus of Kodo Kindergarten. The pupils participate in almost all the religious activities of the temple.

The Believers Hall is a three story complex constructed on the eastern side of the temple in March, 2002. There are five rooms on the top floor of the Hall, one each for the five divisions of Kodosan members. Basement I is used by the Kodo Boys and Girls Scouts. Basement II serves as a lecture room.

 

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