Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Shunie Rite at Todaiji

March 15th in Japan is culmination of a famous Buddhist ceremony at Todaiji Temple in Nara, Japan: the Shūni-e (修二会) Rite. This ancient rite is probably one of the oldest in Japan, started by an Buddhist monk named Jitchū (実忠, ?-824). At heart, it is a ceremony of repentance to Kannon, a great Bodhisattva in Buddhism, but also is a great gathering of people from all over Japan who hope to see the fire and water ceremonies, while gaining some blessings too. In particular, this revolves around Kannon’s “11-headed form” which symbolizes the bodhisattva’s efforts to watch over the world (one head is not enough for such a great burden)

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