Byodoin Temple

A Trip through Time to a 1,000-year-old Paradise.

Tour Start

A Trip through Time to a 1,000-year-old Paradise.

“Pure paradise
in the temple of Uji.”

This is a passage from the Heian period. It means "If you doubt the existence of paradise, go to Byodoin Temple".

To give a bit of background, you should know how difficult the Heian period was-- the Buddha's teachings were not followed, there were many natural disasters, and with the rise of the Samurai, public order fell into disarray. People called the Heian period "the world of the last law.” During such hard times, the people needed a ray of hope, which was realized in Gokuraku Paradise. Thus, they believed that anyone who could survive the world of the last law will reach the Gokuraku Paradise.” If you can reach paradise, you can live a life without pain or suffering".

In fact, people started to believe that Byodoin Temple was the physical manifestation of the Gokuraku Paradise itself. Rumor has it that the center of the temple contains the essence of the paradise itself. How does one recreate "paradise"? With magnificent interior decorations, and a magnificent budget. However, while decorations can be bought and made, the main struggle was trying to create something based off the abstract idea of "paradise"-- something no has ever actually seen.

This guide will explore the story of "paradise" through the various Buddha scriptures, sculpture, and artwork that remains within Byodoin, and the story of the two men who inherited the temple.
It will explore the paradise that people sought out, and how it was recreated in this world for us to experience.

Index List

Select language