Buddha's Nostril – Nara, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Buddha's Nostril

Devoted Buddhists can earn enlightenment in the next life by crawling through this symbolic nostril. 


There are a number of wonders inside Japan’s gorgeous Tōdai-ji Temple, including the world’s largest brass Buddha statue, but the most memorable feature would have to be Buddha’s Nostril. 

Nothing more than a small, square hole in the base of one of the temple’s great wooden pillars, the so-called “nostril” is said to grant a degree of enlightenment in the next life to any worshipper who can fit through it. The magic hole takes its name from the belief that the tiny tunnel is as large as one of the nostrils on the giant Buddha statue sitting under the same roof. While no one has measured the actual size comparison between the Buddha’s nose and the hole in the column, nor can anyone verify the exact nature of the enlightenment granted by the architectural oddity, yet small-hipped visitors from around the world continue to get down on all fours to seek the wisdom of the Buddha’s nose hole.

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