“Do not be troubled about whether your heart is good or bad, or your sin light or grievous. Only determine in your heart that you will be born into the Pure Land, and so repeat the ‘Namu Amida Butsu’ with your lips, and let the conviction accompany the sound of your voice, that you will be of certainly be born into the Pure Land.”
The modest temple of Anraku-ji is associated with Honen (1133-1212), the founder of Jodo Buddhism, and Anraku, one of his disciples. It gives one a good experience of the fast-disappearing small country temple. The ex-emperor Gotoba (1179-1239) ordered the death of Anraku after he and the the priest Juren converted two the the emperor’s favorite court ladies to the sect.
The garden is known for its fine specimens of azaleas and camellias. The Main Hall (Hondo) is surrounded by pruned shrubs and hedges, their forms mirroring the wooded Higashiyama hills in the background of the temple grounds.
The graves of the two court ladies, Suzumushi and Matsumushi, are there as well as those of Anraku and Juren.
Among many things to see, is a Honen image (said to have been carved by Honen himself) that stands in a small shrine in the shape of a temple covered with with hundreds of Namu Amida Butsu inscriptions on paper.
Two small Shinto shrines near the Hondo offer the protection of the local kami to the temple. This temple is open only some of the time: