gochidou 五智堂
KEY WORD : architecture / buildings & structures
Also called shinmendou 真面堂. A very small open building 1 x 1 bay (2.49m ) with a large central pillar to which are attached four large framed inscriptions written in Sanskrit. Built-in the Kamakura period, and located in Nara, it belongs to Chougakuji 長岳寺 but is fairly distant from the present temple precinct. Bracket complexes are 3-on-1 *mitsudo tokyou 三斗斗きょう with bearing block-capped struts *kentozuka 間斗束 in the interstices *nakazonae 中備. The roof is pyramidal *hougyou-zukuri 宝形造 and the floor is a hard packed earthen type *doma 土間. Gochidou is considered architecturally important for the roof structure which has a hidden roof *noyane 野屋根 that is unlike the earliest hidden roofs of the Heian period at Houryuuji *Daikoudou 法隆寺大講堂. The exposed rafters *keshou daruki 化粧垂木 and the hidden rafters *nodaruki 野垂木 have been positioned with greater space between them allowing room for the addition of a cantilever *hanegi 桔木 that adds support to the roof. This early use of a cantilever did not extend to the eave support *kayaoi 茅負. Gochidou means the hall housing the five wisdoms and the Buddhas *gochi nyorai 五智如来 of the Diamond Realm mandala *Kongoukai mandara 金剛界曼荼羅 (Sk. Yajra-dhatu mandala). The central pillar symbolizes the *Dainichi 大日(Sk: Mahavairocana; great illumination), the supreme Buddha of the Shingon 真言 sect, and the embodiment of the realm of ultimate reality hokkai 法界. The inscriptions on each side of the pillar refer to the Buddhas of universal directions: The Buddha of the east, *Ashuku 阿しゅく (Sk: Aksobhya; immovable) ; Houshou 宝生 (Sk. Ratna-sambhava), the Buddha of the south who in his wisdom sees the ultimate equality of all living creatures; *Amida 阿弥陀 (Sk: Amitabha), also called Muryouju 無量寿, the Buddha who discerns all aspects of phenomena and who rules over the west, and the Western Paradise or Pure Land of the Joudo 浄土 and Joudoshin 浄土真 sects ; and Fukuu jouju 不空成就 (Sk: Amoghasiddhi), the Buddha of the north who represents jousho sachi 成所作智 (Sk: krtyanusthana-jnana), the wisdom of accomplishing what is beneficial for beings that perceive through the senses. The gochidou is a unique architectural, three dimensional mandala. It is not known how it was originally used. At present, it is occasionally used to chant the HANNYA SHINGYOU 般若心経 (Sk: Prajnaparamita sutra).


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