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Words-and-Pictures: Toji

Note: This selection of Words-and-Pictures was made on October 9, 2001, as I walked on the Old Tokaido.

Toji is one of the most outstanding temples of Kyoto, a city rife with outstanding temples, located at the south end of the Old Tokaido Highway. You can read about my visit to Toji in my Logbook.

Delightful: the first thing I saw as I walked onto the grounds was this map of Shikoku with the 88 temples marked. It's a reminder that this temple was Kobo Daishi's base in the capital. (He was the founder of the pilgrimage on Shikoku; more on that next week.)

This sign has always cracked me up. They're posted all over the grounds to guide the visitor through the tour, but the wording just seems so--esoteric.

This is one end of the Kondo, the main hall. You can get a sense of the scale of this place when you look closely and realize those are people in front of the building.

Another view of the Kondo, from the front. I said your prayers inside, in front of the Trinity of Buddhas.

The Kodo is a lecture hall. Both it and the Kondo are filled with colossal figures of the Buddhas and other "Vajraistic" (as the sign says) figures.

The front doors of the Kodo. The 21 figures inside are said to be arranged in the shape of three mandalas, a figure of extreme importance in both Shingon and Tendai Buddhism, the two esoteric sects in Japan.

Also on the grounds are a house allegedly lived in by Kobo Daishi--whom you'll hear a lot about on Shikoku--and the Jiki-do, rebuilt in 1930. There's also a fine museum with examples of old mandalas, so central to Shingon practice.

Posted October 4, 2019

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