Sat, Aug 15, 2020
SPECIAL FEATURE: Praying for an end to COVID-19 (Part II)
“There was a massive epidemic during the Nara period and a great many people lost their lives. We have been praying since. When the people of this country are in the midst of a crisis, we pray. That’s what shrines are for,” says Hirotada Kasannoin, 57, the chief priest at Kasuga Taisha.
The grand shrine in Nara performs about 2,200 Shinto rituals every year, with a large attendance or small. Every ritual since the end of January this year, has been about wishing in prayer for the plague to go away.
This year, the grand shrine had no choice but to hold the annual Chugen Mantoro lantern festival without the presence of worshippers. By tradition, the 3,000 or so lanterns on the premises would be lit up every year on Aug. 14-15 wishing for good health. However, this year, the shrine decided to light up only the 1,000 hanging lanterns in the corridors of the main hall, as well as a number of paper-shade lanterns bearing inscriptions in ink such as ekibyo taisan (plague back away). On Aug. 15, the shrine live streamed the festival for the first time this year.
“Our ancestors, too, had fought the plague and overcome hardships. Beyond that, there is a bright future. We hope the lanterns will help soothe your minds,” says the chief priest.
From the Aug. 14 evening edition of The Yomiuri Shimbun (Osaka)
Fri, Aug 14, 2020
From Nara: Wishing in prayer to the Rushana-butsu (Great Buddha) at Todaiji
Tue, Aug 18, 2020
From Nara: As deer look on, visitors pray for peace of mind in quietude at Kofukuji
Wed, Aug 19, 2020
From Nara: Offering a prayer to the Kudara Kannon cased in glass at Horyuji temple
Sat, Aug 22, 2020
From Nara: Receiving the divine grace of the Medicine Buddha at Yakushiji temple
Sun, Jul 31, 2022
Facial expressions in classic Japanese paintings featured at Yamato Bunkakan
Thu, Aug 4, 2022
Ceramics admired in Japanese art of tea highlighted at Mitsui Memorial Museum
Mon, Feb 21, 2022
Eleven-headed Kannon of Shorin-ji temple on display at Nara National Museum
Tue, Jul 19, 2022
Buddhist treasures from Kawachinagano to be showcased at Kyoto National Museum
Wed, Jul 13, 2022
Buddhist works relating life of Honen to go on display at Ryukoku Museum in Kyoto