Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi
Hiraizumi – Temples and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land is a grouping of five sites from late eleventh- and twelfth-century Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. The serial nomination was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011, under criteria ii and vi. For four generations from c.1087, when Fujiwara no Kiyohira moved his headquarters and residence from further north, until 1189, when the army of Minamoto no Yoritomo put an end to the Northern Fujiwara, Hiraizumi served as an important political, military and cultural centre. Several major temples associated with Pure Land Buddhism were founded and endowed, but the demise of their benefactors and a series of fires contributed to their subsequent decline; when Bashō visited in 1689 he was moved to write, in Oku no Hosomichi: summer grass... remains of soldiers' dreams. A series of excavations from the mid-twentieth century onwards combined with references in Azuma Kagami, in particular the Bunji-no-chūmon petition of 1189, the Shōwa sojō or "monks' appeal" of 1313 from the Chūson-ji archives, has contributed much to the understanding of the sites and the period.
The original 2006 nomination of "Hiraizumi - Cultural Landscape Associated with Pure Land Buddhist Cosmology" included five further sites while omitting that of Kanjizaiō-in as a separate component. Four were removed from the nomination after the failure to secure inscription in 2008. List of National Treasures of Japan List of Historic Sites of Japan List of Special Places of Scenic Beauty, Special Historic Sites and Special Natural Monuments Pure Land Buddhism Japanese gardens World Heritage Sites in Japan Yiengpruksawan, Mimi Hall. Hiraizumi: Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Japan. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-39205-1. UNESCO entry Hiraizumi - World Heritage Chūson-ji homepage Mōtsū-ji homepage Hiraizumi - World Heritage
A pure land is the celestial realm or pure abode of a buddha or bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism. The term "pure land" is particular to related traditions; the various traditions that focus on pure lands have been given the nomenclature Pure Land Buddhism. Pure lands are evident in the literature and traditions of Taoism and Bon. In the Mahayana sutras, there are many pure lands. Bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteśvara and Manjushri would obtain pure lands after they attained buddhahood. In the Lotus Sutra, Buddha's close followers such as Śāriputra, Mahākāśyapa, Maudgalyāyana and Buddha's son Rāhula would have pure lands; the relative time-flow in the pure lands may be different, with a day in one pure land being equivalent to years in another. Pure lands have been documented as arising due to the intention and aspiration of a bodhisattva such as the case of Amitābha, but other discourse has codified that they are entwined with the theory of the saṃbhogakāya and are understood to manifest effortlessly and spontaneously due to other activities of a Buddha and the pure qualities and the mysteries of the Three Vajras.
The five features of Buddhahood - the attributes of the sambhogakāya - play a role: perfect teacher, retinue and time. Nakamura establishes the Indian background of the padma imagery of the field, evident iconographically, as well as in motif and metaphor: The descriptions of Pure Land in Pure Land sutras were influenced by Brahmin and Hindu ideas and the topological situation in India. There was a process of the development of lotus -symbolism in Pure Land Buddhism; the final outcome of the thought was as follows: the aspirants of faith and assiduity are born transformed in the lotus flowers. But those with doubts are born into the lotus-buds, they stay in the calyx of a lotus for five hundred years without seeing or hearing the Three Treasures. Within the closed lotus-flowers they enjoy pleasures as though they were playing in a garden or palace; the Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism states that "The heavens of the realm of subtle materiality consist of sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen levels of devas...
The last five heavens are collectively designated as the five pure abodes, the divinities residing there are called the Śuddhāvāsakāyika devas."Five Pure Abodes Avṛha — Free from affliction Atapa — Without torment Sudṛśa — Perfect form Sudarśana — Perfect vision Akaniṣṭa — Highest Very important to all pure abodes is the'Source' from which they dwell and which supports them, the'Wellspring' of myriad fonts as emergent. It may be understood as an interface, portal or epiphany between the Dharmakaya and the Sambhogakaya, it is seminal in the establishment of mandalas governing the inner or secret dimensions. It is the opening and consecration of the sacred space which enfolds and supports the expanse of the pure abode. In iconography it is represented by the six-pointed star, the two interlocking offset equilateral triangles that form a symmetry; this is the'sanctum sanctorum'. It developed into the primordial purity of the lotus which supports the mandala, thangka or the murti of the deity. In temple siting it is the power place or'spirit of place', augured or divined in the sacred geometry of'geodesy'.
In yoga asana, the'source' is Vajrasana, the'seat of enlightenment' the ancient name of Bodh Gaya and an alternate name for mahamudra or padmasana. "Source of phenomena or qualities. Pundarika defines dharmodaya as that. "Phenomena devoid of intrinsic nature" refers to the ten powers, the four fearlessnesses, the other 84,000 aspects of the teachings. Their source, dharmodaya, is the pure realm, the abode of all buddhas and bodhisattvas, the place of bliss, the place of birth. Source: Stainless Light, Toh. 1347, vol. Da, f237a3-5"; the Śuddhāvāsa worlds, or "Pure Abodes", are distinct from the other worlds of the Rūpadhātu in that they do not house beings who have been born there through ordinary merit or meditative attainments, but only those Anāgāmins who are on the path to Arhat-hood and who will attain enlightenment directly from the Śuddhāvāsa worlds without being reborn in a lower plane. Every Śuddhāvāsa deva is therefore a protector of Buddhism.. Because a Śuddhāvāsa deva will never be reborn outside the Śuddhāvāsa worlds, no Bodhisattva is born in these worlds, as a Bodhisattva must be reborn as a human being through their'compassion' and bodhisattva vows.
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, in discussing the Mind Stream of Lokeśvararāja that in fulfillment has come to be known as Amitābha: According to the sutra known as the Rolling of Drums, countless
National Treasure (Japan)
A National Treasure is the most precious of Japan's Tangible Cultural Properties, as determined and designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. A Tangible Cultural Property is considered to be of historic or artistic value, classified either as "buildings and structures" or as "fine arts and crafts." Each National Treasure must show outstanding workmanship, a high value for world cultural history, or exceptional value for scholarship. 20% of the National Treasures are structures such as castles, Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, or residences. The other 80% are paintings; the items span the period of ancient to early modern Japan before the Meiji period, including pieces of the world's oldest pottery from the Jōmon period and 19th-century documents and writings. The designation of the Akasaka Palace in 2009 and of the Tomioka Silk Mill in 2014 added two modern, post-Meiji Restoration, National Treasures. Japan has a comprehensive network of legislation for protecting and classifying its cultural patrimony.
The regard for physical and intangible properties and their protection is typical of Japanese preservation and restoration practices. Methods of protecting designated National Treasures include restrictions on alterations and export, as well as financial support in the form of grants and tax reduction; the Agency for Cultural Affairs provides owners with advice on restoration and public display of the properties. These efforts are supplemented by laws that protect the built environment of designated structures and the necessary techniques for restoration of works. Kansai, the region of Japan's capitals from ancient times to the 19th century, has the most National Treasures. Fine arts and crafts properties are owned or are in museums, including national museums such as Tokyo and Nara, public prefectural and city museums, private museums. Religious items are housed in temples and Shinto shrines or in an adjacent museum or treasure house. Japanese cultural properties were in the ownership of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, aristocratic or samurai families.
Feudal Japan ended abruptly in 1867/68 when the Tokugawa shogunate was replaced by the Meiji Restoration. During the ensuing haibutsu kishaku triggered by the official policy of separation of Shinto and Buddhism and anti-Buddhist movements propagating the return to Shinto, Buddhist buildings and artwork were destroyed. In 1871, the government confiscated temple lands, considered symbolic of the ruling elite. Properties belonging to the feudal lords were expropriated, historic castles and residences were destroyed, an estimated 18,000 temples were closed. During the same period, Japanese cultural heritage was impacted by the rise of industrialization and westernization; as a result and Shinto institutions became impoverished. Temples decayed, valuable objects were exported. In 1871, the Daijō-kan issued a decree to protect Japanese antiquities called the Plan for the Preservation of Ancient Artifacts. Based on recommendations from the universities, the decree ordered prefectures and shrines to compile lists of important buildings and art.
However, these efforts proved to be ineffective in the face of radical westernisation. In 1880, the government allotted funds for the preservation of ancient temples. By 1894, 539 shrines and temples had received government funded subsidies to conduct repairs and reconstruction; the five-storied pagoda of Daigo-ji, the kon-dō of Tōshōdai-ji, the hon-dō of Kiyomizu-dera are examples of buildings that underwent repairs during this period. A survey conducted in association with Okakura Kakuzō and Ernest Fenollosa between 1888 and 1897 was designed to evaluate and catalogue 210,000 objects of artistic or historic merit; the end of the 19th century was a period of political change in Japan as cultural values moved from the enthusiastic adoption of western ideas to a newly discovered interest in Japanese heritage. Japanese architectural history began to appear on curricula, the first books on architectural history were published, stimulated by the newly compiled inventories of buildings and art. On June 5, 1897, the Ancient Temples and Shrines Preservation Law was enacted.
Formulated under the guidance of architectural historian and architect Itō Chūta, the law established government funding for the preservation of buildings and the restoration of artworks. The law applied to architecture and pieces of art relating to an architectural structure, with the proviso that historic uniqueness and exceptional quality were to be established. Applications for financial support were to be made to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the responsibility for restoration or preservation lay in the hands of local officials. Restoration works were financed directly from the national coffers. A second law was passed on December 15, 1897, that provided supplementary provisions to designate works of art in the possession of temples or shrines as "National Treasures"; the new law provided for pieces of religious architecture to be designated as a "Specially Protected Building"
Fujiwara no Kiyohira
Fujiwara no Kiyohira was a samurai of mixed Japanese-Emishi parentage of the late Heian period, the founder of the Hiraizumi or Northern Fujiwara dynasty that ruled Northern Japan from about 1100 to 1189. Kiyohira was the son of Fujiwara no Tsunekiyo and a daughter of Abe no Yoritoki whose name is not known, he was born somewhere in the Kitakami Basin in 1056. His father was of the Hidesato branch of the Fujiwara clan, known for their fighting ability. So, Tsunekiyo was a mid-level bureaucrat at Fort Taga in present-day Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture when he married his Emishi wife, left his position and went to live with his wife's family in present-day Iwate Prefecture. Thus, Kiyohira was born in an Emishi household in Emishi territory to a father, considered a traitor by the Japanese authorities. Much of his early life was spent in a community at war with the Japanese central authorities; the Earlier Nine Years' War was fought on and off from 1050 to 1062 while the Latter Three Years War ran from 1083 to 1087.
He lost his grandfather, Abe no Yoritoki, in battle in 1057, his uncle Sadato in 1062 and all of his mother's brothers were deported to Kyūshū in the same year. His own father was beheaded by Minamoto no Yoriyoshi with a blunt sword; these are the events which would influence his decisions as long as he lived. After he lost his father in The Earlier Nine Wars, his mother became the concubine of his enemy, Kiyohara no Takehira, who had helped Minamoto no Yoriyoshi in the last war. Kiyohira was brought up in this enemy clan as Kiyohara no Kiyohira, with his elder stepbrother Sanehira and younger half-brother Iehira; the Later Three Years War involved a struggle among the three brothers in this complex relationship. Kiyohira won the final victory in the war in 1087, with the aid of Minamoto no Yoshiie, the son of another of his old enemies, Minamoto no Yoriyoshi. Kiyohira, lost his wife and son during the war, killed by his half-brother Iehira. Victorious in the Latter Three Years War, Kiyohira returned to his home at Fort Toyota, in present-day Esashi Ward, Ōshū City, Iwate prefecture, to plan his future.
Sometime around 1090 to 1100 he built a new home on Mount Kanzan, "Barrier Mountain" in what is now Hiraizumi Town. There appear to be three main reasons for his choice of site. First was its location directly on the Frontier Way, the main highway leading south to the capital and other major cities and north to the lands he controlled. Secondly it was determined to be the center of their realm, Ōshū, as measured from the Shirakawa Barrier in the south to Sotogahama in present-day Aomori Prefecture in the north. Thirdly this location is on the South side of the Koromo River, in what had traditionally been Japanese territory. Emishi forts were always built on the North side of East or West flowing rivers. There is evidence that Kiyohira did not use the name Fujiwara but the name Kiyohara until 1117, when he was more than 60 years old, but he passed it on to his children. Kiyohira had several wives and consorts including a Taira wife from Kyoto, called the mother of his six children, she seems to have tired of life on the remote frontier, returned to Kyoto, married a policeman and never returned.
He is known to have had two Emishi wives, a Kiyohara and an Abe. His eldest son and rightful heir was Koretsune, his second son and eventual successor was Motohira, born about 1105 to one of Kiyohira's Emishi wives. After setting up house in Hiraizumi, Kiyohira began an ambitious Buddhist temple building program on the top of Mount Kanzan, Chūson-ji; this complex of temples, pagodas and gardens was to be his legacy, the embodiment of his vision for himself, his family and his domain for all time
The Tōhoku region, Northeast region, or Northeast Japan consists of the northeastern portion of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. This traditional region consists of six prefectures: Akita, Fukushima, Iwate and Yamagata. Tōhoku retains a reputation as a scenic region with a harsh climate. In the 20th century, tourism became a major industry in the Tōhoku region. In mythological times, the area was known as Azuma and corresponded to the area of Honshu occupied by the native Ainu; the area was the Dewa and the Michinoku regions, a term first recorded in Hitachi-no-kuni Fudoki. There is some variation in modern usage of the term "Michinoku". Tōhoku's initial historical settlement occurred between the seventh and ninth centuries, well after Japanese civilization and culture had become established in central and southwestern Japan; the last stronghold of the indigenous Emishi on Honshu and the site of many battles, the region has maintained a degree of autonomy from Kyoto at various times throughout history.
The haiku poet Matsuo Bashō wrote Oku no Hosomichi during his travels through Tōhoku. The region is traditionally known as a less developed area of Japan; the catastrophic 9.0-Magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, inflicted massive damage along the east coast of this region, killed 15,894 people and was the costliest natural disaster which left 500,000 people homeless along with radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Masamune, feudal lord of Date clan, expanded trade in the Tōhoku region. Although faced with attacks by hostile clans, he managed to overcome them after a few defeats and ruled one of the largest fiefdoms of the Tokugawa shogunate, he worked on many projects to beautify the region. He is known to have encouraged foreigners to come to his land. Though he funded and promoted an envoy to establish relations with the Pope in Rome, he was motivated at least in part by a desire for foreign technology, similar to that of other lords, such as Oda Nobunaga.
Further, once Tokugawa Ieyasu outlawed Christianity, Masamune reversed his position, though disliking it, let Ieyasu persecute Christians in his domain. For 270 years, Tōhoku remained a place of tourism and prosperity. Matsushima, for instance, a series of tiny islands, was praised for its beauty and serenity by the wandering haiku poet Matsuo Bashō, he showed sympathy for Christian traders in Japan. In addition to allowing them to come and preach in his province, he released the prisoner and missionary Padre Sotelo from the hands of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Date Masamune allowed Sotelo as well as other missionaries to practice their religion and win converts in Tōhoku; the most used subdivision of the region is dividing it to "North Tōhoku" consisting of Aomori and Iwate Prefectures and "South Tōhoku" consisting of Yamagata and Fukushima Prefectures. The population collapse of Tōhoku, which began before the year 2000, has accelerated, now including dynamic Miyagi. Despite this, Sendai City has grown due to the disaster.
The population collapse of Aomori and Akita Prefectures, Honshu's 3 northernmost, began in the early 1980s after an initial loss of population in the late 1950s. Fukushima Prefecture, prior to 1980, had traditionally been the most populated, but today Miyagi is the most populated and urban by far. Tōhoku, like most of Japan, is mountainous, with the Ōu Mountains running north-south; the inland location of many of the region's lowlands has led to a concentration of much of the population there. Coupled with coastlines that do not favor seaport development, this settlement pattern resulted in a much greater than usual dependence on land and rail transportation. Low points in the central mountain range make communications between lowlands on either side of the range moderately easy. Tōhoku was traditionally considered the granary of Japan because it supplied Sendai and the Tokyo-Yokohama market with rice and other farming commodities. Tōhoku provided 20 percent of the nation's rice crop; the climate, however, is harsher than in other parts of Honshū due to the stronger effect of the Siberian High, permits only one crop a year on paddy fields.
In the 1960s, steel, chemical and petroleum refining industries began developing. Designated citiesSendai Core citiesIwaki Koriyama Akita Morioka Aomori Hachinohe Other citiesAizuwakamatsu Daisen Date Fukushima Goshogawara Hachimantai Hanamaki Higashimatsushima Higashine Hirakawa Hirosaki Ichinoseki Ishinomaki Iwanuma Kakuda Kamaishi Kaminoyama Katagami Kazuno Kesennuma Kitaakita Kitakami Kitakata Kuji Kurihara Kuroishi Minamisōma Misawa Miyako Motomiya Murayama Mutsu Nagai Nan'yō Natori Nihonmatsu Nikaho Ninohe Noshiro Obanazawa Oga Ōdate Ōfunato Ōsaki Ōshū Rikuzentakata Sagae Sakata Semboku Shinjō Shiogama Shirakawa Shiroishi Sōma Sukagawa Tagajō Takizawa Tamura Tendō Tome Tomiya Tōno Towada Tsugaru Tsuruoka Yamagata Yokote Yonezawa Yurihonjō Yuzawa Mount Bandai Three Mountains of Dewa Hakkōda Mountains Mount Hayachine Mount Iwaki Lake Tazawa Lake Towada Kitakami River Oirase River Valley the islands of Matsushima Bay Mount Osore Sanriku Coastline Bandai-Asahi National Park Miss Veedol Beach Rikuchu Kaigan National Park Towada-Hachimantai National Park 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami 2006 Kuril Islands earthquake Geography of Japan Tōhoku dialect List of regions in Japan Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth..
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