Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Rural Temple, Hokyoji.

Hokyoji is one of the oldest of the Soto Zen temples and very unusual in that it was founded by a 'foreigner', a Chinese monk called Jakuen who was a contemporary of Dogen. Jakuen (Ch. Chi-yuan) is said to have returned to Kyoto with Dogen in 1227 and then stayed with him until Dogen's death. Afterwards Jakuen established this temple amongst the pines up in the hills above Ono about 30 miles from Eiheiji and in a location that would feel familiar to congregation members from Montana or Idaho.

Last year the temple was badly damaged by floodwater and mud slides following torrential typhoon floods in the valley which washed away roads and railways.

On the temple site is a small structure housing some temple treasures of which the best known one is a contemporary portrait of Dogen often reproduced in books on Zen. There is also a portrait of Tendo Nyojo said to have been brought to Japan from China by Dogen which I've never seen reproduced anywhere. There's also a portrait of Jakuen himself.
By Iain.

The Meditation Hall.