What is a temple?
There are many temples wherever you visit towns and tourist spots, but how much are you familiar with its history? This article briefly explains its history. A temple is a place or building where Buddhism monks mainly work. The building is roughly divided into two, a cathedral where the monk practices, and the living space.
The temple came from outside of Japan
Temples and shrines are indispensable to the traditional Japanese landscape. Unlike shrines, did you know that temples are not originated in Japan but come from a foreign country? Initially, Buddhism was teaching started by the Buddha of India around the 5th century BC. Thus the origin of temples also exists in India, but those built in ancient times are not what we were thinking about. There were no towers or halls, and there were no Buddha statues or even sutras. Eventually, as Buddhism spread and the Buddha of the founder gradually became deified, worship of the stupa containing the remains of the Buddha also spread. Stupas were also created in the training area. When a Buddhist statue was created under Hellenism’s influence, worshiping became an essential aspect of training. In China and Japan, it was first accepted as a belief of an influential person, so that elegant buildings and Buddha statues were built. The tower became high enough to pierce the sky, and the building for monks was made nicely. In this way, practitioners’ communal living space was transformed into a temple-like Todai-Ji Temple and Horyu-Ji Temple. Life in temples is regularly scheduled every day, such as waking up, eating, working, resting, and sleeping, and there are many courtesy and manners throughout life. Life in a temple is all practice. There is a facility where worshippers can stay in temples. This place is recently getting popular with tourists, where you can enjoy vegetarian cuisine, experience the sutras, and work in the morning. There is some information online, so if you are interested in it, please look it up.
Many graves are built next to temples
The brief history of temples is noted above, how was it? From the background of it, temples were initially designed as a place for monks to practice. It was a place to listen to their seniors, read sutras, meditate, and improve themselves and approach enlightenment. Japanese people tend to think of temples like a graveyard, but a grave is somewhat foreign to the temple. It may seem surprising, but early-staged Buddhist denominations even prohibited monks from being involved with funerals. It became the current style during the Heian era. Although it is related to the popularity of the Pure Land Buddism, it is thought that there is also the aspect that Japanese Buddhism was established. In other words, the idea of Buddhism in Japan is that the memorial service for the dead is regarded as a teaching mission. There are times when such Japanese Buddhism is criticized as funeral Buddhism. Still, with such Buddhism, the Japanese mind has been cultivated, and these temples have created the landscape of Japan.