Temples Of Japan

Monk Shodo Shonin

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Shodo Shonin
Monk Shodo Shonin (735 AD - 817 AD)

Monk Shodo Shonin is the founder of the temples in the Nikko National Park.  He is one of the great Buddhist Monks of the Heian period.  In 766 he crossed the Daiya river and founded Shihonryuji Temple in the Nikko National Park.  This temple has been named Rinnoji Temple later on.

Monk Shodo Shonin is known to be the first person to explore the great summits of the Nikko National Park.  He has climbed Mt. Nantai and visited the great Lake Chuzenji.  On the foothills of the Mt. Nantai and next to the Lake Chuzenji he built the Chuzenji Temple.  Chuzenji temple is one of the Bando Kannon pilgrimage temples.  There is a wooden thousand armed Kannon inside this temple.  The legend has it that Monk Shodo Shonin has carved this Kannon statue with one single large Katsura Tree.

He passed away on March 1, 817, and was buried in Kaizan-do Temple in the Nikko National Park.  His statue has been erected at the entrance of the Nikko World Heritage Temples and Shrines site as a remembrance of his contributions to Buddhism in Japan.

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