Hello. Please call me kay. I am a Buddhist monk living in Japan.
On April 4, there was a spring Buddhist event at my temple (Enryuji Temple). The name is spring Eitaikyo-Houyou (春季永代経法要).
At the temple of Buddhist denomination called Jodo Shinshu, this event is held in March and April of spring in various parts of Japan. It is a regular Buddhist assembly gathering at temples in the spring and autumn.
In this page, I introduce the state of the event held at my temple the other day with photographs.
What things the monk of the temple are doing beforehand?
If there is a big Buddhism event at the temple, a letter of invitation will be sent to this temple believer.
At the same time, I will also post a guide of the event at my temple gate.
I put it like the photo above and informed of event name, date, time, place, missionary information.
In this way, I invited to participate.
I also clean the temples politely.
If you invite others to the house you will clean the entrance and the room. The temple is also the same.
Pick up fallen leaves, wipe off the corridor and shelves, arrange the chairs to feel comfortable visiting.
By the way, until only 20 years ago, chair at any temple did not provide. But I wonder if patience of Japanese weakened. There are more people who can not sit for a long time without a chair. Tatami and chair do not match, but now many temples prepare chairs.
And I decorated the space where I placed Buddha statues. I decorated it like the photo above. Spread luxurious cloths, increase the volume of flowers, and decorate offerings such as fruits and rice cakes.
Since this space expresses the world of Buddha, we prepare this place most carefully at the temple event.
What does the monk do in the morning of the event?
The temple monk must do two things in the morning of the event day.
- To strike the temple bell and make sound resonate.
- To hoist the Buddhist flag.
The photo above is a big bell in the garden of the temple. The name is Bonsho (梵鐘).
Many Japanese think that this bell sounds on New Year’s Eve night, but in fact it also sounds when there are Buddhist events at temple.
“Today, at this temple, there is a Buddhist festival,” let us know by sound.
I ring this bell early in the morning around 7 o’clock and then ring again one hour before the event starts.
And on the day of the Buddhist event, we will raise the flag called Buddhist flag (仏教旗).
This flag is a design that represents Buddhism.
It is a flag that becomes a symbol common to all Buddhists in the world, in buildings with Buddhist events, the flags are displayed in common in the world.
Although it is a Japanese sentence, I introduced about Buddhism flag before. →” 寺院で法要のある日の目印は何？ “
What are those people who are coming to the temple do?
The Buddhist event called Eitaikyo-Houyou of Jodo Shinshu is an event to make it possible for the temple to keep protecting from now on.
Buddhist temples in Japan are not buildings of monks alone. It is a place where anyone can go to a temple and you can listen to the teachings of Buddha. Several times a year in the temple, Buddhism event will be opened. In order to keep the temple from now on, we will pay the money.
We can visit temples because there was a connection of our ancestors. We also leave the place and temple where posterity people can visit.
By the way, a donation or offering to a temple is not limited to money, some people may also rice.
An offering of rice was paying food produced instead in a poor period without money. Because the believer of Jodo Shin Buddha was a lot of farmers.
Those who came to visit the temple go to the counter desk. Then go to the front and burn incense.
There are many people who return home without waiting for the chant a sutra, polite people participate in sutra and listen to the buddhist sermon until the end.
From 2 pm in my temple, the monks chant sutra in the decorated space of Amida-Buddha. Attendees who come to the temple listen to their voices and chant them together.
A movie where monks enter the hall.
Attention because there is a large sound at the beginning.
[The contents of the video]
- First, monks enters from outside with the sound of a bell informing at 2 PM.
- After 50 seconds of video, more monks enter the decorated space.
- 120 seconds after starting, one of the monks start chanting. By the way, this voice is me.
- A few seconds before the end of the video, other monks chant together.
Because this sutra chanting last for about 30 minutes, I introduced only the beginning 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
By the way it is a video from a very rare place.
After the chant sutra many monks leave. And like the photo above, the temple’ schief priest talks short.
Many people are sitting in a chair as you can see from the photo. In addition, there are few people wearing kimonos and suits, and many people come in everyday clothes.
After about 30 minutes of chanting sutra and about 10 minutes of short talking, there is Buddhist sermon by a missionary invited specially. It is not a difficult story, it is a person who talks in an easy-to-understand manner.
There is a break for about 15 minutes on the way, and the missionary talks until around 4 pm.
Of course, people are not binding at all from 2pm to 4 pm. Even if you come from the way, it’s okay. If an emergency happens, it is okay if you go home on the way.
The monks are glad even if people come to the temple for only a few minutes. The most disappointing thing is that people do not come.
[Flow of event of my temple]
- Ring the bell in the morning. Raise the flag.
- I ring the bell again one hour before the start.
- From 30 minutes before the start, it will gradually many people who come to the temple.
- Clothes are okay with easy appearance such as casual wear.
- When going to a temple, people will give a contribution at counter. And burn incense. They participation and returning home in the middle is okay.
- From 2 pm, the monks start chanting. Approximately 30 minutes. After that, temple’ schief priest talks approximately 10 minutes.
- After that, the invited missionary talks until 4 o’clock.
What are the temples people doing after the event?
We clean up after the event.
We reduced offerings such as rice cakes and fruits decorated for the event. Also fold luxurious (打敷) cloth and store carefully.
When the Buddhist festival is over, and to restore all on the same day.
We also put the desk used by the monks in the box and tidied up. And, we cover the places that should not be dirty, such as gold leaf with a white cloth.
We will quickly return to the state of daily decorations.
It’s important to clearly separate everyday and event day.
Finally. It is easy to go to a temple.
It is not difficult to participate in the temple event.
However, many of contemporary Japanese feel that they are hesitation to go to religious facilities.
If you are worried about going alone, please come with your acquaintance or family.
It is the same for foreigners. If you would like to know Buddhism, please participate in the temple event, or please feel free to ask a monk of the temple.
Japanese buddhist monks often have poor english language, but will answer as much as they can.
Buddhist monks are very glad that more people will be interested in Buddhism.
→Japanese version page ” お寺の法要って何をしているのかを紹介 “