Hatto (Lecture Hall) (法堂)

Hatto is a construction in a Buddhist temple where priests make lectures about Buddhism. The word 'hatto' is used in temples of the Zen sect, and in other sects, it is usually called kodo.

The establishment of hatto was in China, not India, and it is believed that it had already been established in the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (China), when Buddhism began to spread through the noble class.

It is one of the most important constructions that form Buddhist temples, along with towers to enshrine Buddha's ashes and butsuden (kondo), where Buddha statues are enshrined, and in Japan, the location of each structure differs in each period, but it is usually placed in the center of the temple, because it came to be positioned as the most important construction, next to butsuden.

The head priest and lecturing priests make lectures about Buddhist scriptures and preachings against Buddhists and other priests, and especially in the Zen sect, it is called 'Jodo Seppo' to make preachings up on the hoseki (seat for preachers), and the contents of the preachings, which are called jodogo, are recorded in goroku (collection of quotations) such as 'Rinzai Roku' (the record of Rinzai's teachings).

Further, kodo in present day in schools are usually used as gyms, and so on. Also in universities, when placed as a room in buildings for normal classes, it is sometimes called kogishitsu (teaching room) and daikyoshitsu (great classroom).

[Original Japanese]