Hondo (The main hall) (本堂)

Hondo is the building of a Buddhist temple in which the main object of worship is enshrined. It is one of the Buddha halls.


In Japan, the main Buddha hall of a temple in which the main object of worship is enshrined is usually called 'Hondo' or 'Kondo.'
The term 'Kondo' was mainly used by temples founded in the ancient times, namely from the Asuka period to the early Heian period. However, the term 'Hondo' is used by a wide range of temples regardless of their respective sects or their lengths of establishment.
However, some temples that were founded in the Nara period, such as Shinyakushi-ji Temple and Saidai-ji Temple (Nara City), now use 'Hondo.'
Temples of the Tendai sect, such as Enryaku-ji Temple, call such buildings 'Konpon-chudo' or 'Chudo,' and many temples of the Zen sect call it 'Butsuden.'
However, many temples of the Zen sect refer to the Buddha hall of an abbot's chamber as 'Hondo.'

Generally speaking, it isn't wrong to understand that 'Kondo' is used by temples that were founded in the early stage after Buddhism was introduced from China, that 'Butsuden' is used by the Zen sect, and that 'Hondo'" is used other temples that developed in Japan. However, as mentioned above, it's difficult to categorize them clearly.

Further, some temples, such as Muro-ji Temple and Taima-dera Temple, have both 'Kondo' and 'Hodo.'
At Muro-ji Temple (Uda City, Nara Prefecture), there is the 'Kondo' (a national treasure) that was constructed in the early Heian period, while the Kanjo hall that was constructed in 1308, at the end of the Kamakura period, was called 'Hondo' (a national treasure). At Taima-dera Temple, which was constructed in the Nara period, the Buddha hall that enshrines the statue of Miroku Bosatsu, the main object of worship, is called 'Kondo' (a national treasure) while the Mandala hall in which the Taima Mandala is enshrined, having been constructed in 1161 during the period of cloister government, is called 'Hondo' (a national treasure). These temples use 'Kondo' for the building in which the main object of worship was enshrined when it was founded in the ancient times, but they use 'Hondo' for the building that later became the main building of the temple due to the change in the object of worship over time.

Meanwhile, a clan whose name was Hondo existed in Dewa Province from the medieval period to the pre-modern period.

[Original Japanese]