Tôshôdaiji monastery, (in) Nara, Nara Prefecture, JP

Raw data

According to the Shoku Nihongi (797), Tôshôdaiji was founded in 759 by Ganjin (Jianzhen), who was the abbot of Daming Temple in Yangzhou, in Tang-Dynasty China. In fact, the first character “tô” in the name means Tang. Ganjin was blind by the time he reached Japan after five failed attempts. He spent 5 years at Tôdaiji Temple, where he supervised the construction of the ordination platform under the patronage of retired Emperor Shômu and ruling Empress Kôken. However, he decided to retire after coming into conflict with the Ritsu (Vinaya) school of Buddhism, one of the six sects of Nara.

Ganjin was granted the former residence of Emperor Tenmu’s son, Prince Nitabe Shinnô, which he remodeled into a study hall for monks in his own Nanzan sect. After his death, Tôshôdaiji became an important center for the Ritsu sect. It presided over 48 subsidiary temples in the Nishiyama mountain area.

In the late 8th century, one of Ganjin’s disciples built the main (golden) hall. This hall and the Kodo Lecture Hall, relocated from the Emperor’s estate, survive as fine examples of Nara ("Tenpyo") architecture. Restoration was completed in 2000, following the damage caused by the Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. The other buildings have disappeared or were replaced after the Nara period. The multi-storied Koro Hall for ceremonies was built in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Among the objects of worship is a famous hollow-core, dry-lacquer statue of Ganjin, made shortly after his death in 763.

- “An Introduction of Toshodaiji Temple” (English pamphlet). http://drh.edm.bosai.go.jp/Project/Phase2/2Events/16_FM3/11_toshodaiji.pdf
- Japan Wikipedia. http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/唐招提寺
- “Ganjin.” http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O108-Ganjin.html
- "Toshodaiji". http://www.toshodaiji.jp/

Src: JPN

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Feb 14, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 21 Jul 2014

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 Toshodaiji monastery, JP.

General location of the Toshodaiji monastery, JO.
lat=34.6750 long=135.78435
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Tôshôdaiji 唐招提寺. Alternative English spelling: Tôshôdai-ji. Toshodaiji

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Nara Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Kensho-ritsuji

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx, Lat 34.6750 Long 135.78435 - based on the visual identification of the temple in maps.google.com, maps = tmciolek, 15 Mar 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

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

  • Nara-shi (Nara City), Gojô-chô

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • Ukyô-gojô in Heijô-kyô (Heijô Capital)

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Nanzan sect, Ritsu sect

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag 0733-66c - tmciolek 21 Jul 2014
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

13. Date-late

MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 21 Jul 2014

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • Tôshôdaiji and Tôdaiji in Nara are linked to Daming Temple in Yangzhou through the Chinese priest Ganjin (Jianzhen)

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Documents, architecture, archeological

16. Additional notes

  • Tôshôdaiji presided over 48 subsidiary temples in the Nishiyama mountain area

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

  • [missing data]

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