Hoorin-Ji Temple in Kyoto


Hoorin-ji, Horinji 達磨寺 - 法輪寺
Horin-Ji, Hoorinji - The Daruma Temple in Kyoto


This Zen temple belongs to the Rinzai sect of Buddhism, in the tradition of the temple Myooshin-ji (妙心寺), which has a huge temple compound nearby and houses the famous Hanazono University. Hoorin-ji is better known as the "Daruma Temple" in Kyoto.

It was founded in 1718 by the Zen-master Daigu Shuusaku Zenji and further enlarged by the priest Mankai after 1727, who took 10 years to complete all the buildings. A lot of the financial support came from the Araki family, a rich money changing enterprize and lay adherent of Zen in Kyoto. Most of the other temples of the Myooshin-ji tradition were sponsored by samurai.

The temple burned down many times in its long history, but finally in 1933 the 10th head priest, a prolific writer and scholar took over and managed to bring the temple back to people's memory. He used the story and image of the Daruma Tumbler Doll to explain the basics of Zen to his followers and promoted the propagation of Zazen among them. The temple compounds comprize an area of 2000 square meters in a quiet
suburban neighbourhood, but comes to life every year on the second day of the second month, February, for the annual Daruma Festival and again on November 1st for the Daruma Anniversary Festivities. There is also a hall in memory of famous film stars and some beautiful gardens.

Daruma gofu だるま護符 talisman with Daruma

. . . . .


I visited Hoorin-ji in June 2002. It is situated in a quiet quarter at the outskirts of the town center and looks like an ordinary neighbourhood temple at first glance. The many stone statues of Daruma in the garden tell different. At the entrance, you are greated by this signpost with a Hakuin Daruma looking at you.

Here is a HP that brings you to Hakuin Zenji in English.

Two Stone Daruma from Temple Horin-Ji

Of course the temple sells a lot of talismans and a set of charming clay bells of Daruma with the 12 animals of the Asian zodiac.

Year of the Wild Boar


stamps from the temple

ema 絵馬 votive tablet with Daruma


Setsubun festival February 3, 2012

waffle with Daruma だるま焼

Look at more photos
source : kyoto.graphic.co.jp


One of the special Daruma renderings is the

Here is the story:

The Emperor Wu 梁の武帝 (465 - 550) of the Liang dynasty was a zealous patron of Buddhism, who contributed to the construction of temples, supported copying of the sutras and supported the monks and nuns, because he thougt the reward for such pious deeds would be great personal merit.

He summoned the monk Daruma and questioned him: "What do you think my merit might be?" "No merit" was the terse reply. Next he asked for an exposition of the first principle of the holy doctrine. "Vast emptiness. Nothing is holy" said Daruma.

Finally, disappointed and exasperated, the emperor demanded:
"Who is it then who stands before me?"

"I do not know" (fushiki 不識) the monk answered
and departed. 

(My modern translation of this would be something like:
"It cannot be known, it is beyond knowledge" or even "Who cares!".)


. Reference .

There is another Horin-Ji in Saga 嵯峨, Kyoto, with the Saga Kokuzo Bosatsu 虚空蔵 as the main deity.
It is the last of the 13 Buddhas Pilgrimage, Juusan Mairi.


eto zodiac animals from Horin-Ji

. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .

. Backup text of this entry  

1 comment:

. Gabi Greve said...

More clay bells with zociac animals

eto ni Daruma