Diary entry, To My Sister Rita, Todaiji Temple 5-23-2014
…excerpt from my handwritten diary kept during my trip to Japan.
Todaiji Temple is the temple housing the giant Buddha statue you’ve heard about in Japan. It is also a National Treasure site and a center of Buddhist doctrinal research. According to the brochure, the current building (around the year 1709!) is the third generation structure (fires destroyed the others) and 33% smaller than the original structure. Yet, at 33% smaller it is still the largest wooden structure in the world. It IS big as you can tell by the size of the people against it in the photo I’ve enclosed.
- How big is the building? 160 feet tall and 187 feet wide with a depth of 165 feet.
The Buddha statue is cast bronze plated with gold and consecrated in 752. Old! Repairs have been made to the statue over the years such as the hands in the 1600s, the head later. The fact that this building and statue are so old just amazes me. And, get this, there is a pole inside the temple (tourist fun) with a hole carved out at the bottom for people to crawl through—guess what the hole represents? The hole is the size of Buddha’s nostril! And no, I did not crawl through it.
- So, how big is the statue? 69 feet tall.
Overall, I am most impressed by the age and size of this massive structure. Can you imagine all the people (slaves?) and hard work it took to build such a place way back when?
I’ll write more later.