Monday, June 7, 2010

Royal Grand Hall of Buddhism - Main Hall

Nestled in a valley in Kato City, the Royal Grand Hall of Buddhism is a sprawling architectural splendor measuring 148ha or 366 acres. I recently had the rare chance to tour this complex touted as the largest Buddhist temple edifice in the world; the many modern temples within its grounds utilize traditional architecture and took nearly half a century of endeavor to complete. The imposing Main Hall atop the slope is adorned with 10,450 carvings and 320,000 gold chasings, and in the center sits the gilded Golden Shrine. At 51.5m in height (equivalent to an 18-story building), the Main Hall is the largest temple in Japan. Outside, in the temple grounds, the extensively landscaped gardens are laboriously kept immaculate - more natural than nature - and are dotted with rare species of trees including the 800-year-old podocarpus tree. The complex is the vision of Dr Kyuse Enshinjoh and 82 priests of the Nenbutsushu Buddhist sect, one of 60 Buddhist sects in Japan, who imagined building a temple that would serve as the spiritual center for the 370 million Buddhists in the world. The Royal Grand Hall of Buddhism was built at a cost of 60 billion yen.

Such a grand-scale Buddhist temple has never been built in the history of Japan since the erection of the main temple of Obakushu Buddhist sect in Kyoto 350 years ago,”
-Shinku Miyagawa (Nenbutsushu High Priest).

It is the founders hope that the center will serve as a meeting place for the Buddhist leaders of the world to overcome any differences in nationalities or traditions and unite them.

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