Wednesday, April 02, 2008

1,250 years of Seeking Forgiveness


Every year during the darkness of cold March night sparks fly, as monks shake 2.5-meter-long flaming torches with all their might, and bells and horns echo through Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan.

About 30,000 visitors flock to see part of the two-week ritual on the climactic night of March 12.

The more than 1,250-year-old annual ritual calls for 11 selected monks to cut themselves off from their usual lives and gradually purify their minds.

While the monks with the torches dance close enough to the fire to singe their eyebrows in a closed-door ritual, conducted in the temple's inner sanctum, one of the eleven monks splashes sacred water and others help to dust off the sparks from the floor. The other monks bow thousands of times to repent for people's sins.

According to Buddhist doctrine, people commit myriad offenses due to the ‘Three Poisons’ -- greed, anger and ignorance. When the offenses accumulate, people become unable to see the truth and become ill.

Since ordinary people cannot repent for their sins and misconduct, the monks do so, on their behalf in the ritual.

Source: Yomiuri News, by K. Sakane, 2006-06-20

Some people might think this is creepy. But I guess majority of us here would see this perhaps serve as a great redemptive tool for Good News! These people do acknowledge sins, and believe that there is a need to repent!

Many in the crowd might be there just for fun, but many more would be there simply believing that the Kannon will remove their sins, and they will be heal from sickness and troubles in life. We need to find these people and tell them what is the TRUTH! more

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