HistoryDaianji Temple\A Member of gthe Seven Great Temples of Narah
Daianji is one of the oldest temples in Japan. The origins date to the beginning of the seventh century when Prince Shotoku established a monastery called Kumagori-Shoja as a center of prayer for the universal peace and the well living of the people. On his death bed, he expressed his wish to the Emperor Jomei that the monastery be developed into a nationwide great temple. In accordance with the wish, he established Kudarano-Otera, the first governmental temple in Japan. After that, it was moved into the capital city of Fujiwara-kyo, with the new name of Takechino-Otera. The temple, renamed again Daikan-Daiji, prospered as the central temple of Japan during the Asuka period (592-710). Following on the transfer of the capital to the newly developed city of Heijo-kyo in 710, the temple was moved again to the present location\it corresponds to a block in the southeastern quarter of Heijo-kyo\and became just what we call Daianji today.
It is said that, in the Nara period (710-794), Daianji used to present the appearance of the preeminent education and research institute for Buddhism as the nationfs principal temple with 887 scholarly monks\not a small portion of them were visitors from the Asian continent, among which there were such distinguished figures as Bodai Senna (India), Dosen (China) and Buttetsu (Vietnam).
In the medieval period, however, Daianji was deprived of the whole magnificent edifices by repeated disasters and began to follow its long course of decline. Nevertheless, it has cherished through the hard times the nine precious Buddhist statues of the Nara period until now. In recent years, its precinct has been kept up gradually, and many people have come to visit it to see their favorite statues, to hold a memorial service and to pray for peace of mind. Daianji has been and will continue to be, we believe, the peoplefs spiritual home.
The principal image is the Eleven-Headed Kannon of the Tempyo era (8c., important cultural property). Memorial services and prayer for cancer-containment, etc. are held here from day to day. The hall is the temple number thirteen (Kokuzo Bosatsu) of the Yamato thirteen temple pilgrimage route.