30 March 2011

Valley of the Temples Memorial Park

Micah and Cori came to visit us in Oahu this month!  On March 5th, we drove to the east side of the island to check out the Byodo-In Temple in the valley of the temples.  The temple was pretty amazing...but I think the highlight of the visit (especially for the kids) was hand feeding the birds.  All we had to do was put the food in our hands and hold it out, and birds would eat right out of our hands!

This following text is typed exactly from the information sheet and is property of the park...

...and the pictures were all taken by me
(so please do not copy or repost them without permission).

The Byodo-In Temple situated at Valley of the Temples Memorial Park was established on June 7, 1968 to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.  The Byodo-in was built entirely without the use of nails.  It is a scale replica of a temple at Uji Japan that was constructed over 900 years ago.  The Byodo-in is built to represent the mythical phoenix, its wings upheld by pillars of stone.  Folklore tells of the phoenix arising from the ashes to reflect the promises of hope and renewal.

"The Magnificent Byodo-in Temple" translates "Temple of Equality - not to discriminate" and is home to Amida, a golden Buddha unique to the entire world.

The Buddha is thought to be the largest figure carved since ancient times.  Towering more than 18 feet, the immense figure is an original work of art carved by the famous Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui.  When the carving was completed, it was covered with cloth and painted with three applications of gold lacquer.  Gold leaf was later applied over the lacquer finish.  The hall and all the artistry it reflects are regarded as representing the essence of the culture of the Fujiwara aristocracy.

The Hall is popularly known as Hoo-do, or the Phoenix Hall, because a pair of the legendary birds of good omen and of Chinese origin is seen perched on both ends of the roof with their wings spread and ready to fly away.  The hall containing two wings reflects stability as well as artistic beauty.

The Bell House, called kanetsu-ki-do, contains a five foot high, three ton brass bell, called bon-sho (sacred bell), cast in Osaka, Japan from a mixture of bronze and tin, by permission of the government of Japan.  It closely resembles the bell hanging in an identical Bell House at the at the Uji Byodo-In.  The original is said to be more than 900 years old and to have come from India.  It is revered for its distinctive shape, and the tone of the bell sounds a message of deep calm and peace, cleansing the mind of evil and temptation.  The resonant sound of the bon-sho creates an atmosphere of tranquility for meditation that travels some distance.  A soft wooden log called the "shu-moku" is used to strike the bell.  The bell is customarily rung before one enters the temple to spread the eternal teachings of Buddha.

The Byodo-In Temple gift shop which is adjacent to the beautiful Sunra gardens, offers a variety of unique treasures, souvenirs and refreshments.

(this is the end of the information sheet text...now on to the other pictures!)
These next two are detail shots from some statues outside the gift shop

Small Buddha in front of the temple.

This was on top of a little gazebo behind the temple

 Feeding the birds!

Full statue by the gift shop and a black swan.

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