shipped directly in natural surroundings rather than in architectural
settings. (The Ise shrine is one exception and can be understood as an

imperial monument that honors the ancestors of the royal family.)

Buddhism, ‘a science of mind’

Buddhism, ‘a science of mind’ (Photo credit: zensquared)

The Buddhist temple compound at Horyu-ji, in the central plains of
Japan, built in the 600s, is one of the few surviving Buddhist temples

from this early period and is the oldest original wooden building in

the world. This small compound consists of two buildings: a solid
five-story pagoda and a large worship hall called a kondo. These two
balanced structures are located in a rectangular courtyard surrounded
by covered walkways. Outside the sacred compound are monastic
buildings, including classrooms, dormitories, a library, and a bell
tower. During the end of the Heian Period (794–1185), a monastic
complex reflects the ideals of Pure Land Buddhism, which was more
spiritually direct than the esoteric principles of the earlier forms of
Buddhism and therefore more widely popular.

English: Inner Gate and Five-storied Pagoda of...

English: Inner Gate and Five-storied Pagoda of Hōryū-ji are Japan’s National Treasures. Hōryū-ji is a Buddhist temple in Ikaruga, Nara prefecture, Japan. It was registered as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area”. 日本語: 法隆寺中門と五重塔は国宝。法隆寺は、奈良県斑鳩町にある聖徳宗の寺院。ユネスコ世界文化遺産『法隆寺地域の仏教建造物』の一部。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Byodo-in, located
in the Uji Mountains outside Kyoto, was originally built in the 11th century as a palace for the imperial counselor. Less austere than the
Horyu-ji complex, this square temple faces an artificial pond and is flanked on three sides by connecting enclosed corridors elevated onto
slender piles that end in elevated square rooms.

The exterior walls, accented with a rich dark wood framework and reddish trim, are
topped by a hipped roof with corners that tilt upward and reveal carved images of a phoenix in the corners of the gable. The tilted
roof, which gives the impression of the phoenix taking flight, harks back to the earliest Chinese Buddhist temples, such as the Nanchen


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