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Engakuji Temple

Engaku-ji is number two of the Kamakura Five Mountain Zen temples, and the head of the Engaku-ji branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. It was founded in 1282 by the eighth Kamakura regent Hojo Tokimune 北条時宗 (1251–1284), who wished both to spread the Zen teachings and to bring peace to the spirits of all those, both Japanese and Mongol, who had perished during the Mongol invasions of 1274 and 1281. Tokimune invited his Zen teacher, the Chinese priest Wuxue Zuyuan 無學祖元 (J., Mugaku Sogen; 1226–1286), to serve as the first abbot. It is said that the temple was named Engaku-ji, “Temple of Perfect Enlightenment,” because a copy of the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment 圓覺經 was unearthed during construction. The mountain name, Zuirokuzan, “Auspicious Deer Mountain,” derives from the legend that at the time of the opening ceremony for the Buddha Hall a herd of deer came to listen to Wuxue Zuyuan’s sermon.

Engakuji Temple

Engakuji Temple hotels and ryokans

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