Very unique Buddhism ritual was held at Saiganden-ji in Aso

Hello everyone, how are you?

Sakura is almost over here at Aso caldera, but different types of flowers are blooming everywhere. Aso caldera is very colorful now.

Well, the traditional Shintoism or Buddhism rituals had been cancelled or reduced for more than 2 years because of Covid -19. It was very sad.

But now, Aso impressive Buddhism ritual which is always held on Apr.13th is back!

This morning, I went to see it at Saiganden-ji, a Buddhism temple near Michi no Eki Aso and even joined it!

Let’s look at Buddhism history in Aso quickly.
If you come to Aso and see Aso shrine, you might think that Aso shrine had been most powerful in Aso at any era. But in real, Shintoism and Buddhism had been mixed since Buddhism came to Japan till new law started at Meiji era (1868) to divide Shintoism from Buddhism.
People had been in awe of Mt.Aso, as an active volcano since ancient times, it was no wonder that Mt. Aso and the crater became a respective object for Shintoism also Buddhism.

From the middle of 8th century to 16th century, Buddhism had a lot of power in Aso. There were nearly 100 temples or monks’ bases around the crater. It is a shame that not many ruins were left. At that era, many monks were chanting or drumming or blowing horn around the crater,  it would be really amazing…..

Saiganden- ji was founded in 728 A.D., and it led the Buddhism culture to respect Mt. Aso, active volcano.

All the temples and monks’ bases around crater were burned at 16th century, then they re-settled at the bottom of Mt.Aso. That is “Bochu”area which is located right in front of us. The name of JR Aso station was “Bochu” station before.

Okay, so let’s get back to Asosan-Kannon-Matsuri, the traditional Buddhism ritual of Saiganden-ji.

This ritual is basically an intense training for Buddhist.

Monks in their special suits walked on fire, and in the end they splash boiling hot water to people, if you get this shower you will stay healthy and well this year.





I was not sure about it in the beginnig…but if I was there I had to try “walking on fire”. 
The meaning of this training is how you can keep the calm state of your mind.
Fire was not going on anymore. I was only hot ashes.
It was not so hot, just warm.

Anyway, it was quite an experience.

If you would like to try, of course you can. They don’t mind about your religion, if you don’t mind.  Just watching is quite amazing as well.

If you have a chance to visit Aso around Apr.13th, don’t miss this Kannonji Matsuri at Saiganden-ji.

Even they don’t have any event when you come, it is a very peaceful nice temple so I recommend you to take a walk there, especially it is beautiful in autumn color season.

See you soon in Aso!


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