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Out line
 
Saikyo-ji is the general headquarters of the Tendai Shinsei sect and has 421 branch temples
throughout Japan, especiallies Shiga,Mie and Fukui Prefecture. 
 
The founder Shinsei
 
真盛上人  Shinsei is the founder of the Tendai Shinsei sect; he was born in Mie prefecture in 1443.
Shinsei became a priest when he was fourteen years old. When he was nineteen years old, he began to study Tendai doctrine on Hieizan. He stayed there for 20 years.
In 1482, Shinsei began to live in Seiryu-ji at Kurodani. He read the book named "Ojoyoshu", which was written by Eshin Sozu Genshin about the Pure Land. We believe that Amida-Buddha takes us to the Pure Land by praying to Amida-Buddha with the words "Namu-Amidabutsu". So Shinsei said the words "Namu-Amidabutsu" 60,000 times in a day.
You can hear the sound of the Bell everywhere. The lady strikes the bell everyday , and she strikes it once after 10 times invocation. It's called Fudan-Nenbutsu(the constant invocation) and Fudan-Nenbutsu no Kane(the constant Bell). Shinsei realized that there was no method to keep social order and give peace of mind to the peaple, except for the precepts and the invocation.
 
不断念仏
History of Saikyo-ji
It is said that in the 7th century (Nara piriod)Shoutoku Taishi built this temple for his teachers ,who came from Korai(the ancient name for Korea). It is also said that Ryogen (912- 985),Eshin Sozu Genshin (942-1017), and Echin(1287-1356) practiced asceticism and prayed to Amida-Buddha.
In 1486, Shinsei (1443-1495)came to this temple and reconstructed some halls. Saikyo-ji became a center of the invocation and the precepts of our religion.
In 1571, general Oda Nobunaga(1534-1582) burned temples out all over Hiei-zan , and this temple also had disappeared. But a temporary hall was rebuilt the following year under the patronage of Akechi Mitsuhide(1526-1582),who later killed Oda Nobunaga .
Hondo (Main Hall)
The Hondo was built in 1739 and is made of zelkova(like oak)(frontage 26m and depth 21m.) It was constructed without using nails.
The decorative transom in front are sixteen Buddhists . It took two sculptors ten years to make them . The board of 90cm in thickness is carved and made. Their eyes are made of crystal.
The altar under the Amida-Buddha is composed of the typical style of the early Edo period. It is named Shumidan.

When you enter this main hall ,the Amida-Buddha catches your eye first. It is 2.7m (4.8m if standing ). It was made during the Heian period in the "Jocho"style, a style similar to the Buddha in the Byodou-in in Kyoto. Wooden parts were combined to make the image bigger and bigger. So Jocho was said to complete this style. The main hall and the Amida-Buddha are specified as important cultural assets in the country.
You can see a statue of a monkey in the outer room. There is a tale about the monkey. When warrior-priests of Mt. Hiei attacked Saikyo-ji about 500 years ago, a monkey would ring the Bell at the main hall. The monkey had white hands. It is said that the white-hand monkeys are the messengers of God. So the warriors admired the monkeys and they went away without destroying Saikyo-ji. We call the monkey "Migawari-no-Saru", which means the protected monkeys.
Kyaku-den (The Guest Hall)
Kyaku-den (The Guest Hall) was moved from the palace of Fushimi castle in Kyoto about 400 years ago. This plain and calm building indicates a typical "Momoyama style", which is rare in Japan today. It is often used for the screenshot.
The Guest Hall has a double veranda(upper and lower)on the eastern and southern sides. The inner space is divided into two rows of rooms. The five principal rooms contain splendid paintings on the sliding panels and walls, which are painted by members of the Kano school.
In the Buddhist altar room(Kenjin-no-ma), there is the Hidden Buddha which came from Hossho-ji in Kyoto, (near Heian Jingu Shrine).It's named Yakushi-Nyorai(Healing Buddha).
The most remarkable room is the principal room(Kamiza-no-ma). There is a majestic painting of The Imperial Audience. In the center of the back wall " Tokonoma", there is a painting of the Chinese emperor. It also shows Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was the General at that time.(Hideyoshi was the successor of Oda Nobunaga and built Osaka Castle.) The garden in the back of the Guest Hall is constructed in the "Chisen Kaiyu" style, which peaple can enjoy while walking around. The pond is a miniature of Lake Biwa.
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