Jakugen founded the Shorinin Temple in 1013 as a place to practice Nembutsu (Buddhist chanting) through Shomyo (Buddhist chanting).
After the construction of nearby Raigoin Temple about 90 years later, many monks’ quarters surounded the two temples. These temples became a center for many monks to study and practice shomyo (Buddhist chanting). Thus, the temple complex in eastern Ohara, centering on Shorinin and Raigoin, came to be known collectively as Gyozan Ohara-ji Temple.
Shorinin Temple has been rebuilt several times after each disaster. The present hall was from 1778. The three-dimensional carvings on the balustrades are magnificent.
The principal image of the seated Amida Nyorai sits in the center of the main hall.
In 1168, the abbot of the temple, Kenshin, invited Honen and other high priests from Enryakuji, Kongobuji, Todaiji, and other temples. They discussed the teaching of the Nembutsu. During the heated debate (Ohara Mondo), Honen explained, citing scriptures, that if one chanted the nembutsu, one would be reborn in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. The main image of the Buddha shone, proving Honen’s assertion to be correct. The audience was so happy to learn that anyone could live in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. So they chanted the nembutsu incessantly for three days and three nights.
Nearby spots from Shorinin
There are several interesting temples in Ohara.
Famous Sanzenin Temple is a must visit.
Model courses to visit Shorinin
Walking tour of Ohara is a good one-day program. You can visit temples in seclusion.