Located in Nara province, Tōdaiji, the “Great Eastern Temple” is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples.
The temple was built in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan.
It grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 to try and reduce the temple’s influence on government affairs.
Todaiji’s main hall, the Daibutsuden ( AKA Big Buddha Hall) is the world’s largest wooden building, even more incredible is that the present version is only two thirds of the original temple hall’s size.
The massive building houses one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu).
The 15 metres tall, serene seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas. It’s an impressive sight as you head into the dim exterior of the hall.
The statue’s shoulders are 28 meters across and there are 960 six curls on its head.
Below we can see another huge wooden statue, this time of Pindola Bharadvaja (or Binzuru in Japanese).
There is a belief that if you have a bodily ailment, you must rub the corresponding part of Pindola, then rub the same part on yourself and it will be cured. Hence the somewhat weathered condition of this old deity.
It’s an impressive place, especially in the gorgeous sunshine – shame I am gurning hideously – it somewhat detracts from the lovely building behind us!!