The Hall was renovated in 1934 by the 17th Head Priest, Shincho. This wooden
temple complex is made from zelkova. The inner sanctuary is dedicated to
Kongokai Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana-tathagata of the Diamond Realm),
The Trinity of Shaka images are: (Shaka Nyorai, Fugen Bosatsu, and Monju
Bosatsu), Fudomyoo, Nyoirin Kanzeon Bosatsu, Jizo Bosatsu, statues of Tendai
Daishi and Ganzan Daishi, and Daikokuten. Hereditary stamps of the Temple
and memorial tablets of the congregation's families are also enshrined.
The Trinity of Shaka images have been enshrined since the temple was founded
as the Nichiren Buddhist temple. Kongokai Dainichi Nyorai, although not
opened to visitors, has been enshrined since 1669, when the temple was
converted to the Tendai sect. The framed and carved calligraphy "Henshokaku"
placed at the top of the inner sanctuary was originally written by the
high priest of Enryakuji Temple during the Edo period. This word symbolizes
that the temple is dedicated to the most important image of esoteric Buddhism,
Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana-tathagata).
This hall was originally a Shinto shrine, called Kotohira-Zozusan 30th Shrine. The building was removed to Myohoji in 1862 at the period of the 15th Head Priest Shin'en. The carving on the inner front pillar is a masterpiece of Hidari Jingoro, a famous sculptor from the Edo period. The sacred symbols from Hiyoshi-Sanno Gongen, Fushimi-inari Daimyojin and Kitano Tenjin are enshrined here.
[Visit the sanctuary of the Chinju Do]
The main entrance(San-mon)
This four-legged gate is made from zelkova wood. The construction took
eight years, and was conducted by the 15th Head Priest, Shin'en in 1885.
Although the project planning started during the time of the 13th Head
Priest Shincho during the Edo period, the actual construction could not
start due to an objection of the Head Priest of Nikko Rinnoji Monzeki Temple
and the last Prince of the Imperial Family. The approval was finally made
after three generations of repeated petitions by the priests; the 13th
priest, Shincho, 14th priest, Shinzen and 15th priest, Shin'en.
Garden of Myohoji
The garden was designed by Kobori Enshu. He shaped the pond by a Japanese
word "kokoro," meaning, "heart," and the rocks were
placed as if they naturally tumbled down from the mountain. It is named,
therefore, "the garden of falling rocks." A waterfall pours into
the pond, and a variety of the trees - azaleas, pines, nandins, oaks, and
black pines - express the beauty of each season. The cycard trees at the
northwest corner are known to have inspired the creativity of the haiku
poet Yosano Buson. The exotic plants must have caught the poet's eyes.
Buson's Haiku Monument
Mon wo izureba c
Marugame Citizen's Haiku Society constructed the monument in 1976. Yosa
Buson, Haiku poet and painter, stayed in Myohoji several times between
1766 and 1768. He donated six pieces of his artwork to the temple. One
of them is the masterpiece, "the Cycard Trees." This is why Myohoji
is also known as "Busondera". The haiku engraved on the monument
was written when Buson was 59 years old, 6 years after he left the temple.
It reads: Mon wo izureba ware mo yuku hito aki no kure. (Going out of this
temple, I am now one of the passers by in the forlorn autumn sunset.)
Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Myoho-ji, a new Buson's monument (Nagajirinoc)
was erected by the18th Head Priest, Shinzyun. Yosa Buson, a haiku poet
and painter left a haiku at Myoho-ji when he returned to Kyoto from Kagawa
in the early summer of Meiwa in 1768. It reads: Nagajiri-no Haru wo tatasete
shuro no hana.
"Brighten the World at your Corner" Monument
Mr. Matsuda Matsuzo, General Representative to the Congregation of Myohoji Temple, erected the monument in 1987 at the 1200th anniversary of the founding of Mount Hiei. Mount Hiei is the Head temple of the Tendai Sect of Japan. Shinohara Hakushu's calligraphy was engraved on the monument.
"Brighten the World at your Corner" is one of the teachings of St. Saicho Dengyodaishi(767~822), founder of the Japanese Tendai Sect. The Tendai Buddhist community has been widely propagating his teachings as its religious movement. The spirit of this movement is to follow the religious life as St.Saicho taught; "The highest expression of compassion is in the act for the benefit of others without thinking of his own."
Light your lamp of compassion for the Earth !