Category Archives: Information

Horyuji

Horyuji is the Head Temple of the Shotoku sect.

Horyuji is about 12 miles south west of the city of Nara. The temple was one of the first to be built in Japan and it’s early history is associated with Prince Shotoku who introduced Buddhism to the country. In 1993 it became the first site in Japan to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Three areas within this very large complex of buildings and grounds covering more than 300 acres are open to visitors. The Saiin Garan (Western Precinct) is the best preserved as a set of buildings and contains what is thought to be the world’s two oldest surviving wooden structures – parts of which survive from the sixth century. The Kondo (Main Hall) houses a bronze Asuka period statue of Shakyamuni cast in honour of Prince Shotoku, and next to it stands the Goju-no-to, (Five Storey Pagoda), another sixth century building.

In the centre of the site is a modern gallery and museum completed in 1998 containing many early Japanese Buddhist statues and other treasures.


The Main Hall.

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Todaiji – Children, Tour Groups.

Here are a few photos that show the part of temple visiting which, I must say, I enjoy. The children are obviously curious about me and given half a chance they start to ask questions and we get into conversations, all be it simple ones.

We visited Todaiji on a Saturday, the children were in their uniforms non the less. The park around Todaiji is famous for its tame, cheeky, deer. School children often wear their uniforms outside of school time, girls wear a variety of sailor suit uniforms and boys uniforms are modeled on Prussian Army uniforms. There is an explanation….

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Zuikoji, Seki, Mie-ken, Kansai.

This was our first visit of the day, the second one being Umpukuji in the afternoon.

The priest came and picked us up from the station in his car and was able to fit us into his busy schedule for a two hour visit. Zuikoji was the family temple of Suigan Yogo Roshi and now is run by his son and his wife. (Priests of the Soto School in Japan may marry unlike the priest in our Order.)

Suigan Roshi helped Rev. Master Jiyu with making translations of a number of chapters of the Shobogenzo both while she was living at Sojiji and also when she moved to Umpukuji. These temples are about ten miles distant from each other.

While visiting here Iain and I were each given a fan with calligraphy done by Suigan Roshi which we will both treasure.

The temple gardener was putting up a prop for a tree limb in danger of falling down and breaking. Helping elderly trees in this way is common practice in Japan.

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Please do not Smoke


One of a series of posters found on Japanese trains and stations. Neat!

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‘About’ circa 2003

I retrieved the following from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and republish here as a record of where and when Jade Mountain(s) Buddha Hall came into existence. Bit of history; much has changed since I wrote this.
Mugo Dec 2, 2012

Rev. Mugo’s Biographical Details.

Rev. Mugo White is a disciple of the late Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett, having been ordained by her at Shasta Abbey in 1981. Rev. Mugo became a Teacher of Buddhism in 1989 and, in 2000, was named a Master in The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.

Since 1996 she has served as the international OBC Lay Ministry Advisor.

The Last Ten Years.

During the past ten years or so, due to circumstances that unfolded within the Order, I have been traveling a great deal. While priests of the Order do travel they are usually based in one place, the majority live in a monastery. I make this point lest a reader mistakenly think that what I describe below is the norm. Physical stability, especially in the early years of training, is considered to be important in growing spiritual stability.

In late 1993 I left Reading Buddhist Priory in England, where I had served as prior for about three years, and went to Shasta Abbey to assisted my master until her death in 1996. From then I was based either at Shasta Abbey or at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. In early 2000 I moved to Cornwall, England while caring out my monastic responsibilities as a priest of the Order in Europe and North America. At that time a 25 ft. trailer, on property belonging to lay sangha members near Helston, served as my ‘monastery’. I understand, in the time of the Buddha, even a grass-thatched hut would be regarded as a monastery. This being so, and it being our custom to give one’s residence a name, I called the trailer Jade Mountain Buddha Hall. The trailer and its surroundings provided a safe haven to which I have returned for months at a time.

How the Site Got its Name.

The name Jade Mountain Buddha Hall came to me one day in late 2000. In Zen, we have the term ‘mountain still sitting’ and Jade Mountain seemed an appropriate name for my trailer. Over time, and due in large part to my being on the move, the name ‘Jade Mountain’ has become less linked to a physical location in Cornwall and more to me as a priest. This being so, and there being a need for sangha members to find me somewhere, I set up this site.

The Purpose of the Site.

I am committed to the Serene Reflection Meditation Tradition (Soto Zen) and to passing that tradition on to others. This site is one way of doing that. There are articles offering spiritual encouragement, personal insights into training in daily life as well as ones explaining the forms and practices of this tradition (as they have been passed on to me). Jade Mountain is my ‘personal web site’. The views expressed are mine and do not necessarily represent those of the Order as a whole.

Dedication of Merit.

May the merit accrue through creating and writing for this site be offered in eternal gratitude to my parents, Dorothy and Tony White, and to all beings.

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