Japanese Buddhism and the Ennouin temple in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture

Have you ever heard about Japanese belief systems such as Buddhism? Every shrine and temple you visit in Japan has its own unique history and belongs to its religious sect. Whether it’s a famous Fushimi Inari shrine, Ise shrine, or the Kinkakuji temple, knowing the background of the site allows you to better appreciate it.

In this article, we will explain about the roots and philosophy of Buddhism in Japan and introduce Ennouin temple in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Buddhism in Japan

What is Buddhism?

About 2,500 years ago, Buddha said that we live with inner conflicts which we create, and taught that there is a way out of it. The inner conflicts are caused by our self-consciousness through heuristics and biases, and the liberation from them is called enlightenment. In Buddhism teachings, wisdom arises when all the mind is freed from all the hindrances.

History

Buddhism is believed to have been born in India in the 5th century BC, and after spreading throughout India, it was introduced to China via the Silk Road, and then to Japan in the 6th century. Since Emperor Suiko and Prince Shotoku accepted Buddhism as a new political philosophy, it has evolved in its own way as the time passed.
Buddhism in Japan is characterized by Shinto influences due to the Japanese worshipping nature as gods. Today in Japan, shrines are mainly dedicated to Shinto deities, and temples are dedicated to Buddhist statues.

Religion

As Buddhism became more widespread, different sects were born, depending on what part of Buddhist teachings were considered important. There are thirteen major sects in Japan today, including Tendai, Shingon, Jodo, Jodo Shinshu, and Rinzai. Although the important points such as reciting nembutsu and meditation are different, they all share the same essential point of achieving an enlightenment.

Ennouin

Ennouin (officially called Kintakusan Fukusenji Ennouin) in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, belongs to the Chisanha sect of the Shingon Buddhism founded by Koubou Daishi Kukai (774-835). It is said to have been opened in 948 AD and has a very long history.

When entering the grounds, visitors can see the main hall that was rebuilt in December 2007, with parts of the old hall (columns and decorations) being reused everywhere.

The main deity in the center of the hall is Dainichi Nyorai. Underneath the main deity and the two metal lanterns on either side of the main hall is an quake-resistant table to prevent it from tipping over in the event of an earthquake.

In the precincts, visitors can also see a statue of Fudo Myoo in the Fudo Hall.

The main hall and the large precincts of Ennouin are used for various events such as lectures and concerts related to Buddhism. This content can also be viewed on the official website.

Finally

Knowing the background of each temple will help you better appreciate it. It is a wonderful way to experience the culture through Buddhism, whether it’s a meditation zazen, copying sutra, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, Japanese gardens, or Buddhist cuisine.

In the frenzy of modern life many people endure inner conflicts and lose sight of the light. Looking into the teachings of Buddhism can help to achieve an enlightenment and freedom from inner conflicts, which is the original purpose of Buddhism.

Address 1-25-12 Oda, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 201-0846
Access By taxi:
 -about 15 min from the east exit of Kawasaki station on the JR Tokaido Line and Keihin Tohoku Line
 -about 15 min from Keikyu Kawasaki station on the Keikyu Main Line
 * Please ask taxi driver to stop at Odanohiedajinja-mae
 * Estimated fare is about 1,000 yen

By bus:
 From Kawasaki station on the JR Tokaido Line and Keihin Tohoku Line by Kyomachi loop bus 28, get off at Kyomachi stop and walk 3 min or by Fuji Denki loop bus 25/26, get off at Oda 3-chome stop and walk 2 min.

By train:
 Get off at Odasakae station on the JR Nanbu Line (Hamakawasaki Branch Line) and walk about 7 min.
Official HP http://www.ennouin.jp/