The Hondo or 'Main Hall,' has historically been called a spiritual training hall, or Dojo. It is a place where 'fellow travelers' along the Nembutsu path may gather to listen to the teachings and share with others their appreciation of the Nembutsu dharma.
The Naijin, or 'inner area,' houses many splendid and beautiful works of art. The flowered tables, hanging lanterns, and pavillion structrue surround the Gohonzon, or 'honorific object of reverence,' in this case, a picture scroll of the Amida Buddha. All of these elements represent aspects of the Pure Land, as described in the sutras. They are represented as golden in color to indicate that they are pure, since they are manifested from the pure virtues and merits of the Amida Buddha's enlightenment.
The Mae Joku, or 'front table,' hold three objects: a Koro, or 'incense burner,' a Rosokutate, or 'candel-stand,' and a Kahin, a 'flower vase.' The candle placed on the right side of the table represents the world of Enlightenment. The flowers on the left side represent the fleeting, impermanent world that we live in, or Samsara. The incense burner is placed in between the two apprently opposite worlds as if to bring them together into Oneness, symbolized by the burning incense, which indicates the paradox of life-and-death, for the incense in being lit begins to both 'live' and 'die.'
The framed Japanese characters hanging above the Naijin represent the posthumous title given to Shinran Shonin by the Emperor Meiji. The characters read Ken Shin, or 'Seer of Truth.'
On the right side, as you face the Naijin, hangs a picture scroll of the image of Shinran Shonin, the founder of Jodo Shinshu. On the left side hangs an image scroll of Rennyo Shonin (1414-1499), a blood descendent of Shinran and the eighth Gomonshu, or head of the sect.
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