Mount Hiei

A Prayer for Peace on Earth from one of the Most Sacred Sites in Japanese Buddhism

The Kyoto University Yoshida Campus is an ideal place for admiring the holy mountains that adorn the eastern rim of the Kyoto Basin. Of these, the most sublime is the sacred peak of Mount Hiei (Hieizan), which is included on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. Located in the Northeastern part of the Kyoto Basin, the austere majesty of Mt. Hiei has been a place of faith and worship since ancient times.

It was in the Ninth Century that Hieizan became the holiest site in Japanese Buddhism, when Dengyo Daishi Saicho founded Enryaku-ji temple there, inaugurating both the Tendai school of Buddhism and Tendai education and learning, both imported from China. And for the past 1200 years, it has defended and passed down the teachings of Buddha, in its capacity of the heart of Japanese Buddhism. Over the centuries, it has at times allied itself with temporal rulers, and at other times, been threatened by them. And its functions are taking on even greater importance than ever before in these days when intolerance and lack of understanding are giving rise to tragedy on a worldwide scale.

Since 1987, the annual Hieizan Religious Summits have brought religious leaders from around the world under one roof to converse and pray collectively for peace on Earth. The abbot of Tendai school attended the Prayer for World Peace in Assisi, Italy, in 1986, in answer to a call made by Pope John Paul II for that purpose. In 2002, the current abbot invited Islamic, Jewish, and Christian leaders from outside Japan, in reaction to the prejudice and hatred directed at Islam in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington. The "Hieizan Message," which states that the future of mankind does not lie in continued armed conflict in the name of religion, was adopted at that time.

Kyoto University also strives to contribute pro-actively to "harmonious coexistence" throughout the world through its research work. Religion and academe, prayer and scholarly research both continue to strive for human happiness, regardless of the differences in their positions and methods.

Konpon Chu-do. This is the central hall of Mt.Hiei, originally founded by Dengyo Daishi in 788. From the beginning an "Inextinguishable Dharma Light" burmed in this hall.
The straw sandals "waraji" have been well-worn by ascetic Buddhist monks. The monks' voices can be heard chanting nearby.
The Monument of Prayer for Peace by World Religious Leaders' Religious Summit Meeting held on Mt. Hiei.