Kumedera monastery, (in) Kashihara-shi, Nara Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Kumedera is a small temple devoted to Yakushi, the Buddha of Healing, located in Kume, near Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture. Unusually large boulders form the foundation of the wooden pagoda. Kumedera may have been built by Prince Regent Shôtoku’s younger brother, Kume no Miko, in the late 7th century. Another theory is that it was the temple of the Kumebe clan, which served the Yamato court as palace guards, and built it within their living quarters. The Konjaku monogatari (Tales of Now and Then, c. 12th century), ascribes the founding to a mythical mountain hermit, Kume, who lost his power of flight when he saw a maiden washing clothes in a nearby river.

Sometime between 781 and 804, Kukai (Kobo Daishi), the founder of the Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism (Chinese: Zhenyan), discovered a copy of the Mahavairocana Sutra (Dainichi-kyô), stored in Kumedera’s 7-story pagoda (which no longer exists, having been replaced by an Edo-period pagoda, moved from Ninwaji in Kyoto). Unable to comprehend the Sanskrit in its entirety, Kukai decided to go to China to find a master and a Chinese translation. Kukai traveled with the official Japanese mission of 804, and studied under the Chinese monk Huiguo (Japanese: Keika) at Qinglong Monastery in Chang’an, returning to Japan in 806.

-Tamamuro (1992: 162-163)
-Nihon chimei jiten (1998: 432)

Src: Japan

Input by: Lizbeth Piel, Oct 12, 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 31 Aug 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Kume-dera monastery, JP.

General location of the Kume-dera monastery, JP.
Lat 34.4849 Long 135.7900
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Kume-dera 久米寺. Alternative English spelling: Kumedera

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Nara Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 34.4849 Long 135.7900 - visual identification in maps.google.com - tmc, 5 Dec 2009.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

  • Kashihara-shi (Kashihara City), Kume

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Shingon sect, starting in the Heian period (794-1185)

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag 0667-99p - tmciolek 31 Aug 2013
0667-99p 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data].

13. Date-late

MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 31 Aug 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data]

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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