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Glossary

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ancestors hall (shidō 祠堂)

Literally, "hall" ( 堂) for "sacrifice to ancestors" (shi 祠). Also called spirit tablet hall (ihaidō 位牌堂). The area of a monastery or temple where spirit tablets (ihai 位牌) for the ancestors of lay patrons are enshrined, and where memorial services for the spirits of those ancestors are performed. At Eiheiji, Sōjiji, and other large Zen monasteries, the ancestors hall is a large building dedicated entirely to spirit tablets and the services that are associated with them. At ordinary temples, that "ancestors hall" is generally not a separate building, but rather an area of shelves filled with spirit tablets located on one side or to the rear of the Sumeru altar in the main hall (hondō 本堂).