Tō-ji

Tō-ji

Tō-ji (東寺 Tō-ji?) (East Temple) is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect in Kyoto, Japan. It once had a partner, Sai-ji (West Temple) and, together, they stood alongside the Rashomon, gate to the Heian capital. It was formally known as Kyō-ō-gokoku-ji (教王護国寺 The Temple for the Defense of the Nation by Means of the King of Doctrines?) which indicates that it previously functioned as a temple providing protection for the nation. Tō-ji is located in Minami-ku near the intersection of Ōmiya Street and Kujō Street, southwest of Kyoto Station.

Tō-ji was founded in the early Heian period. The temple dates from 796, two years after the capital moved to Heian-kyō. Together with its partner Sai-ji, and the temple Shingon-in (located in the Heian Palace), it was one of only three Buddhist temples allowed in the capital at the time, and is the only of the three to survive to the present.

Tō-ji is often associated with Kōbō Daishi (Kūkai). Though Tō-ji began to decline in the end of Heian period, it came back into the spotlight with the rise of Daishi Shinko (worshipping of Kōbō Daishi) in Kamakura period. The well-known Buddhist priest was put in charge of Tō-ji in 823 by order of Emperor Saga. The temple’s principal image is of Yakushi Nyorai, the Medicine Buddha. Many religious services for Daishi are held in Mieido (御影堂?) (or Daishido (大師堂?), in another name), the residence of Kōbō Daishi.

Outline
Tō-ji (東寺 Tō-ji?) (East Temple) is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect in Kyoto, Japan.

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