Buddhist temples come in many shapes. Perhaps the best known are the pagodas of China and Japan. Another typical Buddhist building is the Stupa, which is a stone structure built over what are thought to be relics of the Buddha, or over copies of the Buddha's teachings. Buddhist temples are designed to symbolise the five elements: * Fire
* Earth, symbolised by the square base
* Wisdom, symbolised by the pinnacle at the top
All Buddhist temples contain an image or a statue of Buddha. From-http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/customs/worship_1.shtml Buddhist temples, though frequently built on the site of existing shrines in Japan, have a different ostensible purpose from a Shinto shrine. Temples are generally dedicated to transcendent and universal named Buddha's or bodhisattvas who are not restricted to the area of the temple itself. Buddhist divine beings are represented iconically and worship is conducted according to the rites of a particular denomination or sect of Buddhism, whose teachings are preserved in extensive scriptures. The purpose of Buddhist ritual, meditation etc. is to produce merit, to purify the senses and to advance oneself or another (e.g. an ancestor or spirit) on the path towards liberation or enlightenment. Doctrines associated with a particular Buddhist temple in Japan usually derive from Buddhist teachings from India or China, as well as having features peculiar to the local situation. In practice however, a Buddhist temple may be regarded by devotees very much in the same way as a Shinto shrine, as a seat of sacred power or energy whose resident deity is able to bestow benefits on the supplicant or worshipper who visits the temple. The main function of a Buddhist temple in Japan is to conduct memorial writes for the dead. Such rites are performed over a period of many years in order to secure the passing of the ancestral spirit from this world to the realm of Buddha.
The syncretic approach...
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