Japan - Table of Contents .................. Architecture Around the World
Great Buddha of Kamakura
Kotokuin Temple, Japan
Kamakura is a coastal town, less than an hour south of Tokyo.
Kamakura became the political center of Japan, when Minamoto Yoritomo chose the city as the seat for his new military government in 1192. The Kamakura government continued to rule Japan for over a century, first under the Minamoto shogun and then under the Hojo regents.
After the decline of the Kamakura government in the 14th century and the establishment of its successor, the Muromachi or Ashikaga government in Kyoto, Kamakura remained the political center of Eastern Japan for some time before losing its position to other cities.
Today, Kamakura is a small city and a very popular tourist destination. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments. In addition, Kamakura's sand beaches attract large crowds during the summer months.
The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu) is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha, which stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple. With a height of about 44 feet, weighing 93 tons, it is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan. At one time, the statue was gilded. There are still traces of gold leaf near the statue's ears
The statue was cast in 1252 and originally located inside a large temple hall. However, the temple buildings were destroyed multiple times by typhoons and a tidal wave in the 14th and 15th centuries. So, since 1495, the Buddha has been standing in the open air.
Amida is not a historical person. "Amida" symbolizes two things: (1) Shakyamuni, a historical person, and (2) the Dharma or universal Buddhahood.
"The goal in Buddhism is that we personally become Amida Buddhas. The Buddhahood that we are expected to attain in Buddhism is not the historical Buddhahood of Shakyamuni, but the universal Buddhahood that is symbolized in 'Amida.' "- Dr. Nobuo Haneda, What Is Amida Buddha? (online March 2014)
See also Rudyard Kipling's poem "Buddha at Kamakura" (online March 2014)
Entrance gate (mon)
Temizu: purification fountain.
1880s Glass Lantern Slide made by J. Levy & Co.
Bronze statue of Amida Buddha ... At one time, the statue was gilded. There are still traces of gold leaf near the statue's ears ... Seated in the lotus position with his hands forming the Dhyani Mudra, the gesture of meditation.
Note bronze lantern at left - details below:
Bronze lantern: #1 of five details
Lotus plant finial
Bronze lantern: #2 of five details
Bronze lantern: #3 of five details - Dragon
Bronze lantern: #4 of five details - Komainu
Bronze lantern: #5 of five details - Lotus pad
Bronze lotus sculpture next to the Buddha - 2 details below:
Bronze lotus sculpture - #1 of two details
Bronze lotus sculpture - #2 of two details
Bronze incense burner ... Lotus plant base. ... - 3 details below:
Bronze incense burner - #1 of three details
Bronze incense burner - #2 of three details - Lotus plant base.
Bronze incense burner - #3 of three details
Buddha's hands ... Seated in the lotus position with his hands forming the Dhyani Mudra, the gesture of meditation.
Lotus plant bowl