SOTOZEN-NET > Library > Glossary > family mortuary temple



family mortuary temple (bodaiji菩提寺)

Literally, a "temple" (ji 寺) where prayers for the "awakening" (bodai 菩提) of ancestral spirits are performed. In medieval Japan, some wealthy and powerful clans were able to sponsor entire Buddhist monasteries or sub-temple "stupa sites" (tatchū 塔頭) as mortuary temples dedicated exclusively to their own family's ancestors. In the Edo period (1600-1868), however, all households were required to have family mortuary temples, so single temples usually came to serve dozens or hundreds of parishioner households. In Japanese Zen today, all but a few training monasteries are family mortuary temples.