HIRAIZUMI Pure Land's World

Cultural heritage of Hiraizumi has been registered in the June World Heritage Site in 2011 .

The form of the gardens at Motsu-ji

The form of the gardens at Motsu-ji

 Pure Land-style gardens represent the world of the Buddha, in other words, the Pure Land. Centered on temples in which the Buddha is enshrined, they are characterized by a garden with a pond in front of the temple. There are Pure Land gardens in every part of Japan, but what distinguishes those at Hiraizumi is the mountains in the background.
 Oizumi Pond at Motsu-ji has been created to resemble the sea. To the west is an "artificial hill" reminiscent of rocky coastal mountains, and facing that on the east side is a gently curving "beach" resembling the coastline. Standing rocks represent a rocky shore with many waves and stones.
 The "stream" bringing water to the pond reproduces a mountain stream. Rain falls on Toyama (Pagoda Mountain) in the background, becoming a flow of pure spring water that the stream carries to Oizumi Pond, which represents the sea. A space is born in which the great cycle of nature flows as one.
 Since ancient times, the Japanese have stood in awe of nature. Mountain gods lived in the mountains, river gods in the rivers and sea gods in the sea. In this way, we have come to see all things in nature as sacred. Ancient nature worship, not just reproduction of natural views, was born in the creation of gardens. The most precious surroundings of the Buddha were protected by the local gods.
 However, everything was represented by stones—the paving stones in the great temple, the beach and islands covered with stream-worn rounded stones, the stream, the standing stones and the artificial mountain. Although it was a reproduction of a natural view, this space, where the essence of nature was represented in the abstract, was different. It is not just a created world. By taking a step into Motsu-ji, the viewer would be presented with a space that was actually the world of the Buddha, the Pure Land.
 Somewhere, I want to imagine why this temple was created, why this garden was created.

Motsu-ji Chief Abbot Fujisato Myokyu

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