Honen, the founder of Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism, spent all his time practicing asceticism together with his two disciples at a hermitage in Shishigatani, Higashiyama, Kyoto, in his late years. But he was exiled to Shikoku, one of the four major islands of Japan, because of his disciples’ immorality in 1206. He was held accountable for the supervision of his disciples at the hermitage. He fortunately was forgiven soon and returned to Osaka and finally died in Kyoto in 1212. After his deportation, this hermitage was abandoned though, a head priest of Chion-in Buddhist Temple, the head temple of Jodo sect, suggested the reconstruction of a training hall of asceticism in 1680 at the very place of the original hermitage. This reconstructed hall is present Honen-in Buddhist Temple. The main building, abbot’s chamber, lecture hall and gardens were built one after another in the 17th century. The picture shows the San-mon temple gate in sukiya style, which is regarded as a symbol of this small temple. This simple and humble appearance is in keeping with the beauty of the wabi-sabi of Japan.
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