When I decided to visit this temple, it was for seeing the paintings of Tohaku & Kyuzo Hasegawa. Indeed, those were great (and I kicked myself not introducing this small museum to the past clients), but after the visit, I probably have to restate that the impression of this temple is “still alive”.
Finally, I reached the Kondo Hall, the main buildings of this temple where the Dainichi Nyorai, is placed and most of the ceremonies are held. The building itself is not so old, built in 1975. (Before, there was also a hall, but it burned to the ground in 1882.) Here, I did not know why, but was touched to that building, and felt a real religious atmosphere. That is why I said this temple was “still alive”. The building itself was like a mixture of all the Asian countries’ Buddhist temples, and I could meet an ascetic monk walking and praying. He was wearing a yellow robe. Around this Kondo Hall was quieter than the garden and the museum, but if you visit this temple, it would be great to walk to this Kondo Hall. It is not a national treasure, but you will be able to feel that this temple is still the headquarters of the Chisan School of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism.
Chisyakuin temple is the headquarters of the approximately 3,000 temples nationwide belonging to the Chisan School of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. Shingon Sect of Buddhism was opened by Kobo Daishi (Kukai) in Mt. Koya (Wakayama prefecture) in 835. Shingon Sect fell into decline, and after 260 years, Kakuban resuscitated the Shingon Sect. Then, the place was moved to the Negoroji Temple, also in Wakayama prefecture and it became the central training hall of the Shingon Sect. At the golden age, there were around 6,000 monks. Chisyakuin was one of the sub-temples of the Negoro Temple and the head teacher of the monks was there. As the power of the temple was increasing and was scared by the authority, the temple was broken by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1585. The head monk, Genyu escaped to Kyoto, and reconstructed Chisyakuin in 1598, in the year that Hideyoshi Toyotomi died. After that, when Ieyasu Tokugawa took the power, he accepted this temple’s reconstruction officially. In Meiji period, this temple faced another difficulties, because the wave of the anti-Buddhism movement, but in 1900, 3,000 temples of the Chisan Sect of the Shingon Sect got together, and made this temple as their headquarter. This temple has been always a school of Buddhism, and preserved the tradition till now.
- To enter a small museum to see the Hasegawa’s works
- To move to the Kondo Hall