Sunday, 10 October 2010

Honganji, Tsukiji

If awards were being given out for the most untemple like temple in Japan,  Honganji would be a strong contender.  A Jodo shinshu sect temple, that's located not far from Tsukiji fish market,  it looks rather more like an art gallery, or European parliament building than it does a Buddhist temple.  I have passed it many times, usually when visiting Tsukiji markets or visiting a friend who was being treated at the National Cancer Centre across the road, but never popped in to see it. 

Today was the day, inspired partly by Katsu, a friend in Kyoto who suggested it, partly because it's somewhere that I have been meaning to go, and partly because the Tsukiji Harumi map was on the top of the walking tours of Tokyo pile that I picked up at Tokyo Metropolitan Govt a couple of weeks ago.  

In terms of architecture, Honganji is obviously different, but more striking for its difference was the attitude.  I get a headache trying to discern the differences between Jodoshu, Jodoshinshu, Tendai, Soto Zen, Rinzai Zen, Nichiren and its manifestations, Shingon and any and all sects that I haven't mentioned, but Honganji's Jodoshinshu was the first time to see what appeared as inclusive Buddhism in Japan.  Hiro was hungry so we didn't stay long, though I was interested to note they have English seminar there each month (just what I might need if I am ever going to contribute to a Zen text translation project I agreed to do months ago when I had a whole lot more time).
I intend to go back again someday to check out out in more detail.


Chanting for what looked like a memorial ceremony up the front
other people were coming and going as they pleased.

In such a grand  marble building in Europe, I doubt cattle would be
 the animals on the bannisters.


Looking out to a courtyard
Unorthodox for  a Japanese temple..
Detail above the door The link to the temple homepage.

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