now letís conclude our visit to Hôryûji by returning to the
starting point and confronting one of the most intriguing of all the templeís
anomalies, the riddle of the Middle Gate. At first glance absolutely normal,
this gate is in fact quite peculiar, since is has five pillars along its
façade instead of the normal four. This means that the very center
of the gate is obstructed by the odd fifth pillar. There is no example
of such a middle pillar anywhere else in Buddhist tradition, for the natural
instinct is to open up the very center of the gate to welcome the worshipper.