Kondo (Main Hall)
A national treasure from the 17th century
The Kondo is the largest structure in To-ji. The original hall was built in the 8th century but burned down in 1486 and was reconstructed in 1603. It is the finest structure in To-ji. The building combines the Japanese double-roofed irimoya style and the Indian tenjiku style into one building.
The positioning of the Buddhist statues inside the Kondo is a physical representation of the cosmology of Buddhism.
The Yakushi Nyorai, which stands in the center, is known as the Buddha of Medicine who heals with mercy the sickness of the body and soul of all people.
- -The seven small Buddhas on the halo are the doubles of Yakushi Nyorai and symbolize the different forms of Yakushi Nyorai that appear to people to save them from this world of suffering.
- -The 12 Heavenly Generals placed under the seat of Yakushi Nyorai are protectors of the Buddha. They symbolize the 12 hours of day and night, 12 months of the year, and 12 directions of the Chinese zodiac. This reflects the belief that they are continuously protecting all people.
The Nikko Bosatsu on the right-hand side is the Bodhisattva of the Sun.
The Gakko Bosatsu on the left-hand side is the Bodhisattva of the Moon.
Nikko Bosatsu and Gakko Bosatsu are attendants of Yakushi Nyorai. Bodhisattvas are Buddhas who have put off enlightenment in order to continue to practice with all people. The sunlight and moonlight symbolize light shining into the dark world of suffering.