Hokyoin-to pagoda (宝篋印塔)

A hokyoin-to pagoda is a kind of Buddhist pagoda which is used as a tomb tower and memorial tower. As with gorinto (a grave marker or cenotaph erected for the repose of the departed), many hokyoin-to pagodas are made of stone.

Origin

It is said that a hokyoin-to pagoda is a simplified imitation of the 84,000 pagodas which Qian Chu, the King of Wuyue in China, built in his various territories hoping for prolongation of his life. It is said that this followed the historical fact of King Ashoka in India taking Buddha's relics out of seven of the eight pagodas which had been built after Buddha's death, and restoring them in 84,000 pagodas.

In Japan, many hokyoin-to pagodas were built after the middle of the Kamakura period.

The name of hokyoin-to pagoda derives from the fact that hokyoin darani (hokyoin shinjukyo [hokyoin sutra]) were stored in it. However, all the pagodas of the same shape, even if other things are stored in them, are called hokyoin-to pagodas. Originally, the characters 宝篋印心咒経 (hokyoin shinjukyo) were inscribed in the foundations of the pagoda.

As with gorinto, hokyoin-to pagodas are a feature of Esoteric Buddhism, and started to be built regardless of the religious school after the Kamakura period.

Structure

The uppermost stick shaped part of the pagoda is called 'sorin.'
A sorin has a sacred gem (hoju in Japanese) at its peak and under the gem it consists of the parts such as a ukebana (lotus-shaped support of a seat, pedestal or pagoda finial), kurin (nine vertically stacked rings of a pagoda finial) and a fukubachi (inverted bowl-shaped part of a pagoda finial). Besides hokyoin-to pagodas, sorin can also be seen on hoto (treasure pagoda), tahoto pagoda (a "multi-treasure" pagoda), soto (multi-storied pagoda) and so on. The sorin is not just ornamental: it retains the original form of a 'stupa' worshipping Buddha's cremains. There is a cap under a sorin and the cap has protuberances called 'sumikazari' (corner decorations) on its four corners. A square part under the cap is called toshin (pagoda body) and another square part further below is called kiso (base).

The basic style of the horin-to pagoda is called kansai style, which does not have a square frame inscribed on the toshin but has one kozama (a foliate panel) on the base. The so-called Kanto style involves a square frame inscribed on the toshin and two kozama (foliate panels) on the base. As the names suggest, Kansai style is distributed throughout the Kansai region and Kanto style in the Kanto region.

Items in bold are illustrated in the picture.

The basic form of the hokyoin-to pagoda is as above, but there are some variations depending on the period and the area. For example, the sacred gems on the tops of the pagoda lost their bulbous shapes as time went by, with the tip becoming sharper through the Muromachi and into the Edo periods.
(This characteristic is common to sacred gems generally; it is the same as gorinto and hoto referred to above, ishidoro [stone lantern] and giboshi [ornamental top of a railing].)
Similarly, sumikazari tended to project outwards as time went by and had an extremely warped shape by the Edo period. Also 'kidan' (platform) under the kiso gradually changed to become a square stone platform without ornament such as 'kaeribanaza' (turned flower seat). Also, there are various styles depending on the pagodas, including differences in the size of the body and base as well as the inscription of shuji (the characteristic one syllable word to depict the Bodhisattva) (yuishiki [consciousness-only, the basic doctrine of the Japanese Hosso school]) and a relief of Buddha on the body, and having a double outline.

Significance

As previously noted, hokyoin-to pagodas were originally stone pagodas of Esoteric Buddhism, but they started to be built across sectarian lines after the Kamakura period. To seek a blessing of lightening sins or longevity, many hokyoin-to pagodas were built together with gorinto, as memorial pagodas for 'tsuizen' (holding a memorial service after one's death) or 'gyakushu' (holding a memorial service prior to one's death) or gravestone pagodas.

Some hokyoin-to pagodas or reliefs of hokyoin-to pagodas are seen in 'yagura' (graveyards) many of which are located in hilly areas in the Kamakura region. They are considered to have been made for the same purpose as gorinto. However the number of hokyoin-to pagodas or their reliefs is less than gorinto.

Monks of the Ritsu sect and Stonemasons

When looking at stone construction arts such as stone-made hokyoin-to pagodas, especially ones in the Medieval period, they should be noted as the work of monks of the Ritsu sect and related stonemasons. In the Medieval period remarkable numbers of stone construction arts were produced compared to the Heian period. A revival of religious precepts by monks of the Ritsu sect, such as Eison and Ninsho in Saidai-ji Temple in Nara City, expanded nationwide. Stonemasons who were invited by them left excellent stone construction artworks. There are still many such stone construction artworks now in the temples and abandoned temples of the Ritsu sect.

Major hokyoin-to pagodas

Kofuku-ji Temple Pagoda (Higashimatsuyama City, Saitama Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kanto style

Anyo-in Temple Pagoda (Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kanto style

Kagami-jinja Shrine Pagoda (Ryuo Town, Shiga Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Privately-owned Pagoda (Gokurakuji, Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture), Important Cultural Property

Jakusho-ji Temple Pagoda (Hino Town, Shiga Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Ishiyama-dera Temple Pagoda (Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Hitsusa-jinja Shrine Pagoda (Omihachiman City, Shiga Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Kozan-ji Temple Pagoda (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Iin-ji Temple Pagoda (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Enjo-ji Temple Pagoda (Kyotango City, Kyoto Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Kakusho-in Temple Pagoda (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Kontai-ji Temple Pagoda (Wazuka Town, Kyoto Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Sanbo-in Temple Pagoda (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Shorin-in Temple Pagoda (Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Konzen-ji Temple Pagoda (Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Onsen-ji Temple Pagoda (Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Hiromine-jinja Shrine Pagoda (Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Enpuku-ji Temple Pagoda (Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Ikoma City Arisato Public Cemetery Pagoda (Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Yamaguchiyakushi-do Hall Pagoda (Yoshino Town, Nara Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Seiganto-ji Temple Pagoda (Nachikatsuura Town, Wakayama Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Noma-jinja Shrine Pagoda (Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Nishiyamakoryu-ji Temple Pagoda (Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Kameihachiman-jinja Shrine Pagoda (Kamijima Town, Ehime Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Honzan-ji Temple Pagoda (Misaki Town, Okayama Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Jodo-ji Temple Pagoda (Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style

Beizan-ji Temple Pagoda (Mihara City, Hiroshima Prefecture), Important Cultural Property
Kansai style