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A temple begun in the year 793 by the Emperor Sammu when the Japanese government moved from Nara to Heian. The name means ‘Eastern Temple’, and it was the counterpart to the Saiji, or ‘Western Temple’. As with its predecessor in the former capital city of Nara, the Tōdaiji.this was to follow the Chinese model of city planning, which divided cities into eastern and western districts, each with a major temple. Construction did not go smoothly, however, and 30 years later the temple was still not finished, and so the Emperor Junna called Kūkai (774–835), the founder of the Shingon school, to oversee completion, with the promise that the temple would subsequently belong to the Shingon school. Thus, it became both an official imperial temple and one of the headquarters temples of Shingon.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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