Temple Name: Buttsu-ji 佛通寺
Mountain Name: Omotosan 御許山
Address: 22 Motoyama, Takasaka-cho, Mihara-shi, Hiroshima-ken, 729-0471
Buttsu-ji was established in 1397 by Kobayakawa Haruhira 小早川春平(n.d.), the regional lord of the Mihara area. The Zen master Guchu Shukyu 愚中周及 (1323–1409; also known as Buttoku Daitsu Zenji 佛徳大通禪師) was invited to become founding abbot. Guchu had become a monk under Muso Soseki at the age of thirteen, then, at nineteen, sailed for China and studied under Jixiu Qiliao 即休契了 (J., Shikkii Kairyo; 1269–1351) for a period of ten years. The name Buttsu-ji derives from that of Shukyu’s Chinese master Qiliao, who Shukyu designated as honorary founder, and whose title was Buttsu Zenji 佛通禪師.
Under the patronage of the Kobayakawa family, Buttsu-ji reached the height of its prosperity. Emperor Go-Komatsu 後小松 (r. 1392–1412) permitted the abbot to wear a purple robe, and the Ashikaga shogunate designated it a Kigan Gokokuji 祈願護国寺 (a temple to pray for the peace of the nation). The temple’s fortunes declined following the fifteenth-century Onin Wars, however, despite somewhat of a revival under Kobayakawa Takakage 小早川隆景 (1533–1597). A fire in 1795 destroyed several of the main buildings, which were restored in 1808. In 1905 the temple was named head of the Buttsu-ji branch of Rinzai Zen; it is the only Rinzai headquarters temple west of Kyoto. Buttsu-ji presently has forty-seven associated temples.
Buttsu-ji is noted for its mountain scenery, as well as for buildings like the Mountain Gate (Sanmon), built in 1796; the Dharma/Buddha Hall (Butsuden ken Hatto), built in 1809 and with Shakyamuni Buddha as the main image and a Cloud Dragon painting on the ceiling; the Abbot’s Quarters (Daihojo), which serves as Buttsu-ji’s Main Hall (Hondo), with an Eleven-faced Kannon Bodhisattva as the main image; and the Taho-to 多 寳塔, the Many Treasures Pagoda.