Kodo (Lecture Hall)

An important cultural proporty from the 16th century

The Kodo stands in the very center of the precincts of To-ji. The original building was built around 835 according to records. It was damaged by typhoons and earthquakes and had been repaired several times. The present building was built in 1491 and retains its original style of architecture.

Inside the Kodo, the Buddhist statues are placed according to a mandala that is central to Shingon Buddhism. The mandala represents the world of enlightenment, which is reflected in the positions of the Buddhas and attendant figures. Mandalas are normally drawn in two dimensions. The Kodo is said to be a three -dimensional version of the mandala, with the principal Buddha, Dainichi Nyorai, in the center.

The 21 statues are classified into four groups.

The Nyorai, who are the forms of Buddhas who have reached enlightenment.

The Bodhisattvas, who have put off enlightenment to save people with mercy.

The Myoo (Wisdom Kings), who lead people with austerity.

The Ten (Tenbu or guardians), who surround and protect the Nyorai, Bodhisattvas and Myoo.

Ryokai (Two Realms) Mandala
A pair of hanging scrolls
A national treasure
(9th century)
Not on public display