Category Archives: Teachings

Dogen’s Ordination Platform on Mt. Hiei.

There is no single temple on Mt. Hiei known as ‘Enrakuji’ – the name is used for the whole complex of temples that can be found along the summit ridge overlooking the city of Kyoto to the south and Lake Biwa to the east. The temple was founded by Dengyo Daishi in 788 and although this has always been the Head temple of the Tendai sect in Japan many of the most important priests who founded other Buddhist traditions also trained here.

Dogen came to Mt. Hiei as a young trainee monk in 1212 and took the Bodhisattva Precepts the following year. The building used for this ceremony was the Kaidan-in (Ordination Platform Temple) completed in 828 and still probably much as Dogen would have seen it. It’s an important site in the history of Buddhism in Japan too as the formal separation of Mahayana Buddhism from other schools was first announced here.

Dogen is mainly associated with the Yokowa area of Enrakuji to the north of the main To-do and Sai-to temple groups. Few of the buildings he would have recognised survive – most of the original temples were destroyed by the shogun Odo Nobunaga.By Iain.

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The Pagoda

The pagoda.

This was the last temple in a long line of visits in Kyoto and Nara. I must admit I was flagging a bit, however in the museum was an item I have always admired in photographs. The statues, three of them, are on lotuses rising out of a single stalk set against an ornate screen. (anybody know the name of that?) Yes, I was very please to set eyes on that. Latter, as we came upon the museum of temple textiles it was closing time. Too bad.

We had caught the train out of Nara to visit this temple having left our luggage in a locker at the station. As luck would have it we just made the rail connection which took us on to our next destination, Kameyama. The memorable event there was asking at the hotel where we could get onto the internet and being lead at a very brisk pace down the road for a perhaps ten minutes by the man at reception only to realize that he didn’t in fact know of a place…he did try though.

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Main Altar with Kanzeon

The building was in good repair and obviously loved and cared for by the congregation.


View of the main altar from the kitchen.

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Every Day, is Every Day.


And then there are the people who do the hard work sweeping up the fallen leaves and petals.

There is a saying in Zen Buddhism which goes “Every day is a good day”. Ms. Yoko, who we met for lunch yesterday in Nagoya, remembered her teacher Yogo Roshi saying “Every day is every day”!

The late Yogo Roshi was one of Rev. Master’s Jiyu Kennett’s Dharma teachers when she was in Japan.

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Eiko the Cook.

You might want to go and read one of the comments attached to the posting titled Eiko. Edera, Iains wife, kindly translated a posting Eiko had put on her blog around the time we had lunch at her place. Eiko is a cook we might want to take example from in terms of her attitude of mind as well as her wonderful ability to make food that feeds not only the body.

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