Shōmu Tenno


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(r. 724–49).

The emperor of Japan who constructed the Great Buddha of Nara, a colossal image of Vairocana Buddha.53½ feet tall and weighing 452 tons, and installed it in a temple that he renamed the Tōdaiji. This temple was made the head temple in a system of state-sponsored temples placed in each province and known collectively as kokubunji. Shōmu is also the first emperor to identify himself officially as ‘a servant of the Three Jewels’ (triratna). See also Nara Period.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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