The main gate of Seiryou-ji (仁王門)
The site of the temple in Arasiyama (West suburb of Kyoto) was formerly a villa of Toru Minamoto(822-895 AD), a prince of loyal blood, who is thought of as a model of Hikaru Genji, a hero of the famous court novel of Heian era, Genji Monogatari, written about one thousand years ago by a woman writer, Shikibu Murasaki (ca 973-1014 AD).
The main building of Seiryou-ji (本堂)
The principal icon dedicated in it is theNational Tresure of the statue of standing Gotama Buddha brought in to this temple from China in 985 AD.
The statue of standing Gotama Buddha, made of wood, 163 cm in height, National Treadure.(釈迦如来像)
It was Chounen(938-1016 AD), a priest of Todai-ji in Nara, who visited Northern Song of China, and had the statue made and brought to this temple in 985 AD. The original form of the statue, imaged after the living Gotama Buddha around 37 years of age, was brought from India to China. The statue is like an anatomical model of human body, as there are teeth in its mouth, a mirror in the head (perhaps signifying the brain), black crystals in the eyes, crystals in the ears, nose and ears are connected by holes, and a model of the bowel made of silk cloth in five colors packed in the belly. Interestingly, the bowel model was discovered quite by chance as late as 1953, almost one thousand years after its inauguration.
A replica of the model of the bowel packed in the belly of the statue (五臓六腑)
(The original one, National Treasure, is kept in the treasure repository of the temple.) The discovered model of the bowel is extremely valuable not only from religious and archaeological point of view but the science of anatomy, since it provides an evidence how the internal organs of the human bowel was understood in China as early as the 10th century.