May 24, 2015

Contrasting religious buildings

 This is the gate to a Buddhist temple. The temple itself is quite uninteresting. It has no garden and consists of a single building that can not be viewed in its entirety because of the smallness of the land it is on. This gate is the only interesting thing about the temple. The structure consists of a gate on the first floor and a bell tower on the second. When Buddhism arrived in Japan about 1,500 years ago, it was accompanied by many features of the more advanced Chinese culture of the time. The Japanese soon adopted and changed these Chinese things but the temple still appear to represent human culture.
The Shinto temples, on the other hand, like this one that is just down the road a ways from the above temple, seem to represent nature. Shrines are almost always surrounded by a grove of trees and usually large stones and stone sculptures that being the view back to nature. Even the enshrined gods are often representatives of some specific aspect of nature and the way that nature impacts our lives.

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