Was founded in 1175, and is one of the eight head temples of JHODO sect, the major Buddhist denominations, and located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto.
The precincts of the Kurodani include the site where HONEN, the founder of the Jodo sect, stayed with his lifelong follower Shinku after leaving the mountain HIEIZAN in 1175 to proclaim his new Pure Land teaching.
The original temple was the two storied-villa owned by the most influential aristocrat, FUJIWARA Akitoki, who was the grandfather of Shinku.
Occasionally, aristocrats and ordinary people got together with the imagination that the Pure Land lies far beyond the sinking sun to pray that they might reborn in the Pure Land.
The temple was destroyed several times, including during the OHNIN WAR (1467-77), which ravaged Kyoto, but was restored each time. Destroyed by fire in 1934, the temple was rebuilt in 1942. Dr. Amanuma, architect and honorary professor of Kyoto University, designed and directed the construction. The building is to be the most outstanding wooden structure in the 20th century. The colossal two-story ceremonial gate at the entrance to the temple complex was built in 1860. Among the temple's many art treasures are a RAIGOHZU depicting the Buddha AMIDA and accompanying bodhisattvas descending to receive the faithful, and sliding doors painted whith pine trees in Suiboku style and tigers in colors.
The wooden sculpture of ST.HONEN at age 75 is enshrined.
The building was destroyed by accidental-fire in 1932 and restored 10 years after. It is elaborated in the ray and the sound.
The oldest building in the precinct was rebuilt by the Toyotomis in 1605.
The main image of Amitabha Buddha, the final work of ESHIN another name for GENSHIN (942-1017). is enshrined and contains the curving tools used by him in the body.
Genshin became a disciple RYOGEN on Mt. Hiei in his childhood. In 970, he retired to the Eshin-in on Mt. Hiei. In 984, he wrote the Ojo-yoshu, which he sent to China in 986.
In 1003, he sent a letter of inquiry cocering the doctrines of Tendai to the great Chinese scholar Chih-li (Chirei) by Jakusho, his disciple, who sailed to China in that year. He left many sculptures and paintings of Buddhist images. He is regarded as the founder of the Eshin School of Tendai as well as the sixth patriarch of the Jodo-shin Sect.
The images of Manjusri-bodhisattva and attendants by Unkei are enshrined in the three-storied pagoda which was designated to pray for the repose of Tokugawa Hidetada, the second Tokugawa shogunate.
The founder of the Jodo Sect also called Honen-do. Genku is his posthumous name. He was born at Inaoka-minami-mura, Kumegun, Okayama Prefecture, as a son of Uruma Tokikuni.
Seishi-maru was his childhood name. At the age of eight, he lost his father, and entered the priesthood under his uncle, Kangaku, the chief priest of his family temple. At the age of fourteen, he was sent to Mt.Hiei and there he studied under Jiho-bo Genko, and Koen of the Kudoku-in belonging to the Enryaku-ji. At the age of seventeen, he went to Jigen-bo Eiku at Kurodani on Mt.Hiei. At age of twenty-three, he left his master Eiku and went down to Kyoto and Nara for study. Later he came back to Kurodani. At the age of forty-two, he read the San-shan-I (Sanzen-gi) by Shan-tao (Zendo) and he became a convinced Pure Land Buddhist. He devoted himself to the practice of nembutsu at Yoshimizu in Kyoto and attracted many flowers.
In 1186, he was asked by Kenshin Hoin to preach at the Shorin-in at Ohara in Kyoto. Subsequently a great dispute took place there called the Ohara controversy. On that occasion Honen won many people over to Pure Land teachings. In 1198, he wrote the Senchaku- hongan-nembutsu-shu at the request of Fujiwara Kanezane. In 1204, the priests of Mt. Hiei who were against Honen's opinion that the only way to salvation is to invoke the name of Amitaba, urged Shoshin, the chief priest of the Tendai Sect, to prohibit Honen's teaching.
In 1207, the retired Emperor Go-toba ordered Honen's exile to Tosa under the pressure of these and other priests. The reason was that Juren and Anraku, disciples of Honen, persuaded two court ladies to become Pure Land nuns during a special nembutsu service held at Shishigatani, Higashiyama, Kyoto. At the end of the same year, Honen was pardoned and stayed in the Katsuo-dera in the province of Settsu.
In 1211 hi was permitted to return to his own place at Yoshimizu in Kyoto. Shinran, Bencho, Genchi, Kosai, Shokaku, Shoku, Zenshin, etc., were some of the great figures among his followers.
(from JAPANESE-ENGLISH BUDDHIST DICTIONARY)