Born in India, Buddhism made its way to Japan using the northern and southern routes via China and the Korean peninsula. From the life of Gautama Buddha, the roots of Buddhism, and the teaching of Buddhism in various areas, to the spread and history of Buddhism in Japan, the museum introduces Buddhism in an easy to understand manner using various methods based on a foundation of exhibiting actual artifacts. In addition, there are Special and Focus Exhibits held a few times a year where research project results in various fields from both the university and from outside projects are disclosed.
During the Concept exhibition period the 2nd floor exhibition room focuses on "Buddhism in Asia" and the 3rd floor exhibition room focuses on "Buddhism in Japan", thus tracing the birth and spread of Buddhism.
The theme for the exhibits span from "The world of Gautama Buddha" that introduces the birth of Buddhism in India to "The road traveled by Buddhism" which traces the arrival of Buddhism in Japan via Central Asia. In addition, the "Otani Expedition" collection will also be on exhibit. The Otani Expedition was the first group in Japan to perform an academic investigation of the route taken by the eastward spread of Buddhism.
"Buddhism in Japan" introduces how Buddhism was brought to Japan, how it spread, the differences between religious factions and their teachings. The theme for the exhibits is "Shinran Shonin and Shin Buddhism" which introduces the teachings of Shinran Shonin, the development of Shin Buddhism and the history of Hongwanji. In addition there are also exhibits that introduce the history of Ryukoku University, which was founded approximately 370 years ago as a college of Nishi Hongwanji.
Kozui Otani, the 22nd chief priest of Hongwanji School of Shin Buddhism, dispatched three expeditions across Asia 1902 and 1914. This collection consists of approximately 9,000 items that were used by the Otani Expedition members, the first academic expedition in Japan to trace the route of the eastward spread of Buddhism, as well as the items they brought back.
Important academic materials held by Ryukoku University, with its history of more than 380 years, is planned on being exhibited.
For details on these materials as well as other academic materials held by Ryukoku University, please see the "Ryukoku University Library Collection Site".