Friday, July 1, 2011

Events around Nara Park (July 2011)

Around Nara Park:
July 5(tue) Priest Chogen Commemorative Ceremony (Syunjyo-ki) and Special Viewing of a Hidden Statue
@Todaiji Temple, Syunjo-do Hall (near the Great Bell)
Chogen is a Buddhist priest who made a great contribution in repairing Great Buddha and reconstructing Great Buddha Hall in late 12th century.
8:00 ~ Commemorative Ceremony
After the ceremony (around 11:00)~16:00 Special Viewing of a Hidden Statue (*Seated Statue of Chogen, National Treasure, 13th century This statue is open to the public twice a year on July 5 and Dec. 16 annualy.)

July 7(thu) Ritual Ceremony for Benzaiten (Benzaiten-ku) and Special Opening of Three-storied Pagoda
@Kofukuji Temple, Three-storied Pagoda
Benzaiten was originally an Indian goddess of river Sarasvati. In Japan, she is known as a goddess of wisdom, music and fortune. Buddhist priests at Kofukuji Temple used to worship Benzaiten wishing for progress in their Buddhist studies. Benzaiten statue is enshrined in Three-storied Pagoda (National Treasure, around early 13th century).
10:00 ~ Ritual Ceremony
9:00 ~ 16:00 Pagoda is open for the public viewing. This is an annual, once a year opening day. You can see Benzaiten statue and wall paintings of the first floor. Though faded, there are, in total, 4000 Buddha figures on the wall.

July 16(sat) Pay Respect to Enma Day (Enma moude)
@Byakugoji Temple
Enma is the lord of hell deciding who should go to hell and be punished. July 16 is said to be a holiday at hell; people in the hell get a rest from endless torture. On this day, people in this world pay respect to Enma wishing for health and longevity. At Byakugoji Temple, boiled konjac with miso paste and paper fans are offered to visitors (limited number). On paper fans, the temple’s head Buddhist priest has drawn a picture of Enma.
10:00 ~ Ritual Ceremony

July 23(sat) Special Viewing of Naked Jizo Statue
@Denkoji Temple
Jizo is a Buddhist saint. Jizo statue at Denkoji Temple was sculpted in naked form and wears real clothes. July 23 is an annual day for Jizo statue to change into new clothes. Jizo statue is open to the public only on March 12 and July 23.
17:00 ~ 18:00 Ritual Ceremony to Change Jizo’s Clothes

July 28(thu) Purification Ceremony For Summer (Gejyo-e)
8:00 ~ @Todaiji Temple, Great Buddha Hall
Buddhist priests pray for people to stay healthy during summer. In the beginning of the ceremony priests walk through a Chi-no-wa ring, a fresh green grass rope coiled into a 2 meters wide circle. After the ceremony, everyone is welcome to walk through the Chi-no-wa ring to pray for health.

Around Kintetsu Yamato Saidaiji Station:
July 17(sun) Lotus Flower Ceremony (Renge-eshiki)
@ Hokkeji Temple
This is an annual purification ceremony for summer held at Hokkeji Temple. The ceremony is held in the evening with lanterns lighting up the temple precinct. In the beginning of the ceremony
Buddhist nuns walk through a Chi-no-wa ring, a fresh green grass rope coiled into a 2 meters wide circle. Before the ceremony, a bowl of rice porridge is served to everyone for free. People eat this porridge wishing for health.
17:00 ~ Rice porridge is served.
19:00 ~ Ritual Ceremony starts.
~ 21:00 Doors of the temple close.

-NARAWALK guide 

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