Butsudo Buddha Hall (仏堂)

A Buddha hall is a building within a Buddhist temple that enshrines Buddhist statues and in which prayers and memorial services are made. Those Buddha halls that lie outside of the grounds of a temple are referred to as external Buddha halls.

When Buddhism was brought to China in the second century BC and temples first began to be built, it appears that Buddha halls were already being constructed along with pagodas used to enshrine Buddha's ashes as essential elements of a temple. From then on, as Buddhism spread, the pagoda went from being at the center of a monastery to being gradually relegated to the periphery, with the Buddha hall enshrining Buddhist statues becoming the most important building and generally being constructed at a temple's center.

There are often numerous Buddhist halls within a single temple and these are referred to by different names according to factors such as their nature, their location within the temple and the statues they enshrine, and include names such as 'hondo' (main hall), 'kondo' (golden hall), 'Shaka-do' (Shakyamuni hall), 'Yakushi-do' (Medicine Buddha hall), 'Amida-do' (Amitabha hall), 'Kannon-do' (Guanyin hall) and 'Jizo-do' (Ksitigarbha hall).
In Japan, the central hall enshrining the temple's principal object of worship is often referred to as the 'hondo' or 'kondo.'

Hondo' is the most common way of referring to the central hall of Japanese Buddhist temples.

Kondo' is mainly used in reference to those temples constructed between the Nara Period and the Heian Period.
However, there are temples such as Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple and Saidai-ji Temple (Nara City) that were built during the Nara Period but now call their main halls 'hondo.'
There are also temples, such as Muro-ji Temple and Taima-dera Temple, which contain both a 'hondo' and a 'kondo.'

The name 'butsuden' (also meaning 'Buddha hall') is recorded in "Nihon Shoki" (The Chronicles of Japan) and is used as an alternative name for 'butsudo,' but in Japan is mainly used in the context of the halls that enshrine the principal object of Zen sect temples (often Buddha Shakyamuni).
However, some non-Zen sect temples such as Sennyu-ji Temple also use the word 'butsuden.'
Similarly, there are also some Zen sect temples that refer to their main hall as 'hondo,' especially those buildings resembling an abbot's chamber.

In addition, temples of the Obaku school of Zen Buddhism like Mampuku-ji Temple and others such as Nagasaki City's To-dera Temple give their main halls the Chinese style name 'Daiyu Hoden.'

[Original Japanese]