If my decision to visit Horyu-ji was influenced by the personality of its founder – Prince Shotoku – , I decided to see Yakushi-ji because this was the most Eastern point on the Silk Road, and I am passionate about the history of this amazing road.
Yakushi-ji is part of the Seven Temples of Nara, true academic centres in which Buddhism was studied. They flourished especially during the period before moving the capital from Nara to Kyoto. These were also centres were Budha’s statues were made.
Emperor Temmu built this temple to thank Gods for the recovering of his wife from an illness. So, the main figure of the temple is Yakushi Nyorai, the God of Medicine. His statue, flanked by two Bodhisattvas can be seen in the Kondo, the main hall. Even if at the beginning the statues have been covered with gold leaves, now they are black from the great fire in 1528, which destroyed most of the buildings in the temple. The statue is cast in bronze and has 2.55 m height.
Yakushi Nyorai is sitting on a medicine chest, instead of the traditional lotus flower. There are a lot of borrowed elements sculptured on the chest like grape-vine (Greece), lotus flower (Persia), barbarians standing on the knees (India), the saint animals: the dragon, the phoenix, the tiger, the turtle (China). They not only indicate people who benefited on the Silk Road but also that this was an important communication channel, which conveyed not only merchandises but also beliefs and ideas.
Sai-to, the West Pagoda, burned in the 1528 fire and was reconstructed in 1981. Much to my disappointment, To-to, the East Pagoda, was in reconstruction now, being covered entirely.
Daca la Horyu-ji m-a atras fondatorul ei, la Yakushi-ji m-a atras pasiunea mea pentru Drumul Matasii. Templu este cel mai estic punct pe acest drum, asa ca mi-am zic ca, fie si numai pentru asta, merita sa merg acolo.
Yakushi-ji face parte dintre “Cele 7 temple ale Narei” (Nanto Shichi Daiji), centre academice in care se studia budhismul. Acestea sunt:
Templele au cunoscut cea mai infloritoare perioada a lor inainte de mutarea capitalei de la Nara la Kyoto. Aici se aflau, de asemenea si ateliere in care se fabricau statuile lui Budha.
Am asteptat la poarta deschiderea templului si am vazut grupuri de elevi care formau o orchestra – dupa cum am vazut mai tarziu -, veniti sa cante cu ocazia unui eveniment.
Templul a fost construit, in secolul al VII-lea, de catre imparatul Temmu ca multumire pentru refacerea sotiei sale in urma unei boli. Constructia initiala, ridicata in 698 in apropiere de Asuka, a fost mutata la Nara in 718. Din nefericire, incendiile si-au spus si aici cuvantul, iar azi se mai pot vedea Sala principala (Kondo), Sala de est (Toindo) si cele doua pagode, de est si de vest. Si acestea sunt insa reconstruite in diverse perioade, singura parte originala ramanand Pagoda de Est (To-to). Spre dezamagirea mea, ea se afla insa in renovare, fiind complet acoperita, chiar cand am fost acolo.
Cele doua pagode sunt asezate simetric, de o parte si de alta a Salii principale. Pagoda de Vest (Sai-to) a ars la marele incendiu din 1528 si a fost reconstruita in 1981.
Sala principala adaposteste triada Yakushi. Yakushi Nyorai, zeul medicinei – vindecatorul bolilor mentale si trupesti, este flancat de cate un Bodhisattva, cel al Lunii si cel al Soarelui. Yakushi Nyorai mai este rugat si pentru longevitate. Statuia este din bronz si masoara 2.55 m inaltime. Initial, aceste statui au fost acoperite cu foita de aur dar focul le-a conferit culoarea neagra actuala. Statuia de aici a lui Yakushi Nyorai se deosebeste de altele, in care este infatisat purtand in mana o cutie cu medicamente, aici fiind asezat pe o lada cu medicamente. Reprezentarea este interesanta in masura in care, incluzand elemente din diverse culturi (vita de vie – Grecia; lotus – Persia; barbarii ingenunchiati – India, animalele sfinte: dragonul, tigrul, phoenixul si testoasa – China), indica si rolul pe care Drumul Matasii l-a avut in schimbul de credinte si idei.
Those pagodas are always fascinating. I smiled seeing the wooden traditional sandals. I want to try wearing it just for experience.
Happy Mother’s Day, Traveling Hawk! Wish you good health and more trips around the world. 🙂
the pagoda looks very majestic and the sandals are truly one of a kind. i don’t think i’ve seen anything like these before.
Thank you, Rizalenio! Actually we do not celebrate mother’s day on May, here, in Romania. We only have March, 8 – which is woman’s day.
Those are traditional sandals, Life Ramblings. If you would see them without that protective paper cap, you would recognize them.
Absolutely beautiful. I love the pagoda. I would love to be in your traveling shoes :^)
Very interesting post, thanks for sharing. It’s a really mystic world for us in Europe. Pagoda and all photos are beautiful.
I can imagine, Doug! Thank you!
Hello, Kovacs Miklos, and welcome on my blog! Yes, it’s a different world, for sure.
Fascinating and exotic as always…
now you made me miss japan. one of my favorite country.
Yes,it is interesting to know how Buddhism was introduced into Japan.
Buddhism surpassed Shinto in this age.Cultural exchanges between China,Korea and us were very active,that is why Buddhism was very influential at that time.
If you like it, come again soon, dong ho!
You are right, Kumiko! Thanks for the visit!
Hell Traveling Hawk,
how lovely that you have traveled the Silk Road and there are also very intrested in am. Nice that you’ve put a lot of information there about the temples and statues.
Helma my dear, I have not traveled the Silk Road, only have been in several points connected with it. I would do this, but this plan stays for the next life:)But I am interested in the Silk Road and I read a lot about it.
Then I just misread the Traveling Hawk, but you have as good a little bit of traveling 🙂
Kind regards, Helma
Yes, I travelled a little bit, indeed, Helma:) ;