Kyoto Journal, a non-profit quarterly established in 1987, reaches far beyond Japan's ancient capital to be your gateway to understanding and appreciating the lifestyles, cultures and societies of Asia.
A history of the pursuit of wellbeing in Asia would include extensive discussion of cultural manifestations of human awe and respect for nature, evidenced by everyday propitiation of an infinite number of animist spirits and deities in efforts to align with natural forces and cycles, for example in Shinto and Hindu practices (along with many other locally oriented beliefs that endure even in post-industrial times)...
Discover quality writing from Asia in our award-winning magazine. Stimulating interviews and profiles; excerpts of works translated from Asian languages; fiction, poetry and book reviews, as well as a fresh look at the city KJ calls home.
Our space for reporting on exhibitions and happenings in Kyoto and beyond hosted by KJ or KJ friends; notes on some our favorites among the bookstores and venues where KJ is on sale in Japan and overseas; compilations of KJ's top-read articles, and much more.
In August 2018, KJ managing editor Ken Rodgers visited Shanxi Province, particularly Datong and Wutai-shan, motivated by having read the 9th century Japanese monk Ennin’s travel journals (Ennin’s Diary: The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law, Edwin O. Reischauer translation) and John Blofeld’s account of his time there in the 1930s (from My Journey in Mystic China, translated by Daniel Reid). These images were selected to complement an online review of Mount Wutai: Visions of a Sacred Buddhist Mountain, by Weng-Shing Chou (Princeton Press, 2018).
Taiyuan-si’s Great White Pagoda (Nepalese style, dating from 1301), below Pusading (‘Bodhisattva’s Terrace’) in Taihuai, the village at the heart of Wutai-shan. John Blofeld mentions Pusading as his lodging in an excerpt published in KJ92: Devotion)
Dragon stele at Pusading, 4.8 meters in height, with inscriptions by the Qianlong emperor in Han, Tibetan, Mongolian and Manchu, from 1792
Manjusri, Bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom, riding his lion (symbolizing the powerful voice and fortitude of Buddhist faith), Shuxiang-si
‘Suspension sculptures’ of 500 Arhats, from 1496, highlighted in World Heritage documentation, Shuxiang-si
Eastern hills from Shuxiang-si
Rolpé Dorje’s “Living Buddha” stupa (built 1786) at Zenhai-si (Taming the Ocean Temple)
Manjusri depicted on the colorfully decorated wall enclosing Rolpé Dorje’s stupa
Offering incense in front of the stupa; red paper strips in the outer courtyard record names of visitors’ deceased relatives
Guanghua Temple, closely associated with Rolpé Dorje, in central Taihuai
Great Hall of Guanghua Temple under reconstruction
A huge Guanyin (Avalokitesvara/Kannon) figure already installed in Guanghua’s Great Hall. The Gelukpa or ‘yellow hat’ sect, headed by the Dalai Lama, had very powerful connections with Wutai since the fifth Dalai Lama visited Beijing in 1653, and supervised all monasteries on the mountain. Currently there are three Gelukpa temples at Wutaishan— Guanghua, Guangren, and at the Guanyin cave.
Guanyin Cave, where the 13th Dalai Lama took sanctuary in 1908 following the British invasion of Tibet. Alternative history proposes that the ‘playboy’ 6th Dalai Lama may not have died en route to Beijing after his forced dethronement, but instead spent a number of years meditating here. A planned visit by the present Dalai Lama in 1955 had to be cancelled due to heavy snowfall.
Monks of many lineages visiting Puhua Temple on Aug 24th for a Buddhist holy day
Monk who remained deep in meditation while lay donors distributed alms to all monks present
Central terrace of Wutaishan, looking south; arhat figures waiting to be installed in massive extension to temple precinct
East Hall of Foguang-si, south-west of Wutai-shan. This World Heritage building, still standing, was constructed in 857 (“the largest and most intact of the four Tang structures to have survived”) as part of the resurgence of Buddhism following its suppression by emperor Wuzong (from 843 to 845), which occurred during Ennin’s pilgrimage.
Another view of East Hall of Foguang-si.
We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website.
You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in settings.
Before you go, be sure to check out our latest issue:
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
3rd Party Cookies
This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information such as the number of visitors to the site, and the most popular pages.
Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.
Please enable Strictly Necessary Cookies first so that we can save your preferences!