From the long path leading up to the steep stone staircase this site begs to be examined. We found this beautiful residence on a detour. We had planned two days of touring temples and shrines, having mapped them along a specified route. As we were walking up the street, we couldn’t help but stop due to how intriguing the facade of this pagoda was. We were in for an even more delightful surprise when we found what lay inside the Otani Mausoleum.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Japan, 〒605-0846 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 五条橋東 6 丁目 514
This is a great stop to add to your list of attractions on your way to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The natural path through the Otani Mausoleum connects directly with Chawanzaka street, the main path leading to the temple.
Shinran was the first monk buried here in the year 1262. He spent his early life devoted to Buddhist studies, but couldn’t reconcile why there was so much suffering and anxiety in the world. At the age of 29 he met his teacher Honen and followed the teaching, “Just say the Nenbutsu, and be saved by Amida (a celestial buddha).” From that time forward he began to walk along the Nenbutsu Path of the Primal Vow.
This mausoleum is a dedication to all those who have followed that same path since then and thereby is simultaneously a dedication to the faith.
You might be thinking how we could find a mausoleum beautiful, or delightful. We believe that death is merely a crossing over period, and that the true purpose for our existence comes after. But, beyond that, this isn’t just any cemetery. It is a cemetery for those who committed their lives “to care for and liberate the weak, fragile and suffering, regardless of moral or economic status, race, gender, belief, intellectual capacity or species”. All those buried here are devoted to the promise of life to fulfill the immeasurable life ceaselessly working to liberate all from distress and delusions.
Ultimately, they devoted themselves to love.
► For Kids: This cemetery is meant to be revered in a way that honors what these monks lived for. Life, love, and being. Children are welcome and can appreciate living a fulfilled life outside of themselves.
► Nap-Time Version: A city mausoleum in the hillside dedicated to monks who lived the Primal Vow.
Have you visited the Otani Mausoleum? Were you as awestruck as we were? Or, are you on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to the day of the dead? Tell us everything.