Friday, March 24, 2017

Nanzoin Temple, Japan

Name : Nanzo-in Temple (南蔵院?) is a Shingon sect Buddhist temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. It notable for its bronze statue of a reclining Buddha, said to be the largest bronze statue in the world.

History :

Nanzo-in temple was originally located on Mt. Koyasan, but local anti-Buddhist authorities threatened to destroy the temple in 1886. Public outcry lead to a decade-long effort to have the temple transferred to Sasaguri. It was moved in 1899, under the leadership of Sasaguri priest, Hayashi Satoshiun. Nanzo-in temple is the main location among the 88 temples that make up the Sasaguri pilgrimage route, one of the three famous walking pilgrimages in Japan.

Today, the temple and its surrounding grounds receive more than 1 million visitors annually.

A chief priest of Nanzo-in temple once won the lottery after laying his ticket next to a statue of Daikoku. The temple claims that others who have made a similar effort have also won the lottery, bringing the temple associations with luck and lottery tickets.

Reclining Buddha

The reclining Buddha statue, known as either Nehanzo or Shaka Nehan ("Nirvana") is 41 meters long, 11 meters high, and weighs nearly 300 tons. The statue depicts Buddha at the moment of death, or entrance into nirvana.

The interior holds ashes of Buddha and two Buddhist adherents, Ananda and Maudgalyayana. Those relics were a gift from Myanmar as thanks for the sect's donations of medical supplies to children in both Nepal and Myanmar. In 1995, 1,300 monks from Myanmar and Nepal attended the unveiling of the reclining Buddha statue.

Inside the sculpture, sand from each of the 88 shrines that make up the Shikoku pilgrimage are stored below bricks within a narrow hallway.

Every year, hundreds of Buddhists come together to clean the statue using bamboo leaves tied to five-meter poles.


Nanzo-in Temple has 4,315 nokotsudo, places where bones of the deceased are stored. The temple has a non-traditional fee structure for housing remains. First, it is open to all sects of Buddhism, and is even open to Shinto remains. Secondly, many Buddhist temples rely on a monthly fee for housing the bones of the deceased, which are then disposed of after a set period of time. Nanzo-in Temple has one fee, which covers 200 years.


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