is one of the most famous imperial and ancient Buddhist temples
, located in Nara
. The temple is the headquarters of the Hossō
school of Japanese Buddhism
. Yakushi-ji is one of the sites that are collectively inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
, under the name of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara
The main object of veneration, Yakushi Nyorai
, also named "The Medicine Buddha", was one of first Buddhist Deities
to arrive in Japan from China in 680, and gives the temple its name.
The original Yakushi-ji was built in Fujiwara-kyō
, Japan's capital in the Asuka period
, commissioned by Emperor Temmu
in 680 to pray for recovery from illness for his consort, who succeeded him as Empress Jitō
. This act of building temples in devotion to Buddhist figures was a common practice among Japanese nobility when Buddhism was first imported from China and Korea. Emperor Temmu
had died by the time Empress Jitō completed the complex around 698; and it was disassembled and moved to Nara eight years after the Imperial Court settled in what was then the new capital.Matsuzawa, Midori. Daily Yomiuri Online.
April 4, 2008.
It has been long believed that the temple was moved to its present location in 718, following the move of the capital to Heijō-kyō
known today as Nara
. However, excavations of the Fujiwara-kyō Yakushi-ji site in the 1990s suggest that there may have been two Yakushi-jis at one time. The Fujiwara-kyō... Read More