Buddhist Temple Names in Japan

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    Buddhist Temple Names in JapanAuthor(s): Dietrich SeckelSource: Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Winter, 1985), pp. 359-386Published by: Sophia UniversityStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2384822.

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    BuddhistTempleNamesin Japanby DIETRICH SECKELA THOUGHthenames fmany uddhistemples,r igo , are ncon-stantuse among Japaneseand Western tudents f Japan'shistory,religion, nd art,theynever eem to have been made the subjectofsystematicesearch,not even,as faras I know,by theJapanese hemselves.(Thereexists,however, short nd not entirelyatisfactoryrticle n igo inMochizukiShinko,ed.,Bukkyo Daijiten,9, pp. 307f.)Just s Christian hur-chestaketheirnames mainly rom hemultitude f saints nd otherholyper-sons (according o their atrocinium), rom he body of theological oncepts,such as Trinity,Holy Spirit,Sacred Heart, etc., and, less frequently,romother spheresof religiousthoughtand devotionallife, so manyBuddhisttemples renamed after acredpersons nthe pantheon' Buddhas,bodhisatt-v.as, etc.) and importantdoctrinalterms.But in addition an astonishingnumber f templenamesrepresentitles f scripturessutras)and theological

    or philosophicaltreatises, se symbols nd metaphors, xpressgood wishesand auspiciousomens,orare takenfrom itual nd devotionalpractice s wellas fromlegends and local traditions.As even this short and provisionalenumerationhows,thevariety f nametypes s muchgreaterhan t s in theChristian tradition; t is further nrichedby naming a particularlyargenumber ftemples fterhistorical ersonswhowere heir ounders rpatronsor to whose memorynd spiritualwelfare hetempleswere dedicated.Thus thecorpusof templenames and there rethousands f them, howinga bewildering iversity)s embedded n the system f Buddhist hought, ult,and religious ife on the one hand and in the fabricof Japanesepolitical,social, and cultural history n the other.The variety,freedom, nd evenarbitrarinessn namingthe templesare enormousand call for clarificationand classification.THE AUTHOR is ProfessorEmeritusof EastAsian Art History at the UniversityofHeidelberg.A more comprehensiveresentationf thematerial nd discussion f pertinentroblemsis published in the author's BuddhistischeTempelnamen n Japan (MunchenerOstasi-atische Studien 37), Franz Steiner Verlag,

    Stuttgart,1985, which includes a specialchapterdevotedto the technicaltermsusedfor thedifferentypesof temples nd monas-tic institutionsas opposed to theirnamesas such). In the presentarticle only a fewisolatedexampleshave been selectedfrom heapproximately ,300 templenames analyzedin thebook.

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    360 MonumentaNipponica, 40:4This introductoryssay willprovide,after ome generalremarks, surveyof themain groups of templenames in typologicalorder, llustrating ach

    of themby some examplesselected from much greater tock of availableones. Inevitablythe picturepresented n this sketch shows the rich andvariegatedmaterial n undue simplification.We have to exclude or to reserveforfurthertudy he specific easons, occasions, motives, nd circumstancesthat ed to the choice of a particular emple'sname, thequestion of regionaldistribution f names throughout apan,and the possiblepredilection or er-tain namesortypes fnames ndifferenteriods.Also excluded s, of course,anyattempt t providing tatistics; uite a number f namesare found onlyonce, othersmore or less frequently,nd some in theirdozens or even hun-dreds.The questionof whether rnot and to whatdegree ectarian ffiliationsoftemplesmanifest hemselvesntheir ames sbriefly iscussed.So also is theproblem f the mportation ftemplenames fromChina; theirnumberwouldappearto be muchsmaller han one would expect.Categoriesof TempleNames

    Official ames. What we call templenames jigo, jimyo #t) is usually onlypartof the full nameof a Buddhist nstitutionstablished oth formonasticlife and for the performance f ritual, thus embracingthe meaning ofmonasterys well as temple. For convenience ake, however, temple' s thepreferredermnWestern anguages.Normally uch an institutionji, tera )has a longofficial amemade up of three omponents: he mountainname'(sangorU-"),he cloistername' (ingoR- andthe templename'proper san-in-jigorR- For example,Chotoku-sanKudoku-inChion-jiAM, 1R),k (Mountain of Long-Enduring Virtue, Cloister of Religious Virtue,Temple/Monastery f Awareness of [the Buddha's] Grace). Another m-pressive example is Shiun-san Shoju-in Raigo-ji (Mountain of Purple[=Auspicious] Clouds, CloisteroftheSacredHost, TempleofWelcome-theBuddha Amitabha (Amida), accordingto the Pure Land doctrine, ppearswith multitude f bodhisattvas n clouds to receive hepiousbelieverntohisholyrealm.Butlogicalor self-evidentemantic onnections etween hethreecomponents f a temple'sfull, fficial ame,as in this ase, arerare, nd moreoften hannot their ombination eemsarbitrarynd difficulto explain.Before concentratingn our mainsubject,the igo, a fewwordsaboutthetwoothernamecategories, hesango and theingo,are in order.Sango. Evenwhen ocated on levelground, nvalleys r intowns,Buddhisttemplesare called 'mountains' (san, -zan OA) ecause originally heyweremountain etreats frecluses,hermits,ndmonks, ndbecause the olitude funinhabited nd remotemountainswas felt o be a numinous phere.Certainmountainshave a cosmologicalsignificance,nd the Buddha is reported ohave preached on sacred peaks, most prominentlyhe Lotus Sutra on

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    SECKEL: Buddhist Temple Names in Japan 361Vulture's Peak (Grdhrakuita). he altar or dais for Buddhist mages repre-sents Mt Meru (Sumeru, J. Shumi-sen j,Li), the central xis of the worldaccording o Indian cosmology, nd is therefore alledshumi-danQTffl. hefounding r consecrating riest f a templeperformshe act of OpeningtheMountain kaisan M A) nd himself s called the kaisan.Being basically topographical, he mountainnamesare also used as or in-stead of personal names, especially n Zen circles.For example, the monkWen-yen J. Bun'en) t)1K, iving n themountain etreatr monastery n Yun-men-shan J. Unmonsan)fUY1LLJMt Cloud Gate) was popularly alled MasterYtin-men J. Unmon); several Japanese templeswere named Unmonji afterhim or his Chinese monastery. his usage, of course,was taken over fromChina; forexample,whenthe eminentmonk philosopherChih-i J. Chigi)V0, 538-597, eceived hehonorary itle f T'ien-t'ai Ta-shih J. Tendai Daishi)X-lvtft,he was called after he sacredpeak in Chechiangprovince, nd thename of thismountainwas subsequently ransferredoone of themost nfluen-tial sects as well. In the present hort urveywe have to omit the mountainnames almost completely, or otherwise he scope of the materialwould bedoubled.In many cases, althoughbyno means regularly, here xists semantic e-lationship between the sango and the igo, and a few examples out of aconsiderablenumber f typical onnections regivenbelow.Ruriko-sanYakushiji fU% iS: Ruriko=Radiance of JewellerySkt.vaidurya) s an alternative ame forYakushi NyoraiViji4p, theHealing Bud-dha. Muryoju-san aihoji dEUW15: inthe WesternRegion reignsAmida(Skt. Amitayus), heBuddha of Immeasurable ife. Chfidai-san ainichiji @=LLJ7HEY:ainichiNyorai Vairocana) occupiesthe Central Lotus) Terraceof the GarbhadhatuMandala. Gokoku-sanShitennojiT,LI4I: theFourLokapalas (Heavenly Kings) are worshipped as Protectorsof the State.Hokke-san chijoji i'L-#: theOne-and-OnlyVehicle wayto salvation)according o the Tendai school (to which hetemplebelongs) s expounded nits fundamentalext, he Lotus Sutra Hokke-kyog*).

    Sometimes hetwo elements repersonalnames: nMyoyfi-sanokyutji1I1utS, the sangOgives the posthumous or Buddhist name (hogo -) of thefounder'smother nd the igo thatof his father. ixedrules,however, r atleastacceptedhabitsof choosing nd combining ango and igo didnotexist.Ingo. Originally he term n denotedan enclosure, precinct of a palacecompound,forexample) and, by analogy,a cloisterwithin monastery.nthis