Todai-ji is a Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall, which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, is also the largest wooden building in the world.
The Great Buddha Hall of the Todai-ji Buddhist temple complex in Nara (), Honshu, Japan. July 20th 2005 || From a July 2005 visit to Nara, Japan
The temple, home to the the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism, was founded by Emperor Shomu in 745 to protect against the horrible epidemics which were commonplace at that time, and to consolidate the power of the Imperial throne. It took more than 15 years to build and although it was rebuilt in 1790 to only two-thirds of the original size, it is still today the world’s largest wooden building. The temple, together with seven other sites in Nara, are inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites – the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara include temples, shrines and places.
The Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall) of the Todai-ji Temple houses the largest bronze statue in Japan. The 15-meter-tall blackened figure sitting on a lotus throne depicts Rushana, later known as Dainichi Nyorai (The Cosmic Buddha). This statue is commonly know as the “Great Buddah of Nara” and is perhaps the city’s most famous attraction. The completion of the statue was an extraordinary achievement. After several attempts at casting the statue failed, it was finally dedicated in 752. The Emperor Shomu, his wife the Empress Komyo, and the reigning Empress Kogen all gathered to dedicate the statue by “opening his eyes”. An Indian priest stood on a specially built platform and painted in the eyes using a gigantic brush. From the end of this brush were hung coloured strings which ran down to the VIPs below, enabling them to take part in the ceremony as well. Also in attendance were local monks, numbering in the hundreds, as well as ambassadors from China, India and more distant places. The guests brought a dazzling assortment of gifts many of which are very well preserved and still on display in the nearby Shoso-in treasury. Todai-ji Temple, Nara, Honshu, Japan. July 19th, 2005 || From a July 2005 visit to Nara, Japan