The three biggest religions of Japan and some of their sects unite in the spiritual fight against the disease.

As novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country, sickening hundreds of people daily in Tokyo, more and more people’s lives are in danger every day. The longer the disease persists, the greater the threat to the population, and so three of Japan’s biggest religions have banded together to pray for the end of the pandemic, and are encouraging their followers to do the same.

On the third of this month, Fumon Sagawa, chief priest of temple affairs at Todaiji Temple, home of the Great Buddha statue in Nara, started the idea with a post on Todaiji’s official website. He wrote that the monks of the temple are sincerely praying for the end of the pandemic and for the spiritual transcendence of those whose lives were taken by the disease, and he invited people around the country to pray together with them.

Sagawa’s idea inspired followers of other religions, and on 24 April, leaders of various religious groups, including Buddhism, Shintoism, and Catholicism, gathered on an open-air veranda in Todaiji Temple to hold a news conference in which they called for their followers to pray together with them at noon every day while practicing self-isolation.

▼ All seven standing for a photo in front of the hall where the Great Buddha statue resides at Todaiji Temple, maintaining a safe distance from one another.

The seven leaders, who represented the Koya-san Shingon sect of Buddhism, the Catholic parish in Osaka, Tamukeyama Hachimangu Shrine in Nara, Enshoji Temple in Hyogo, and Kinpusenji Temple in Nara, in addition to Sagawa and another Todaiji representative who both represent Kegon Buddhism, all sat two meters apart as they discussed the power of prayer in these difficult times.

“Even though we must refrain from our usual activities for the sake of others, I would still like to pray together with everyone,” said Sagawa. “If everyone could pray in their own spaces with us…”

Takaaki Soeda, secretary-general of religious matters for the Koya-san Shingon sect of Buddhism, said, “I would like to achieve the original Buddha’s goal of saving each and every person in our modern world.”

Whatever religion you might follow, you can’t help but be touched by seeing each of the different religions–which all harbor widely different beliefs–come together in spiritual solidarity with the one tradition they hold in common. Why not add your spiritual energy to the mix with some prayer of your own? After all, at some shrines in Japan, prayer has been known to have a very serious and lasting effect, so you never know! Maybe with all of our positive spiritual energy directed toward a resolution, as well as our continued commitment to stay home and out of crowded places, we can bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic sooner rather than later.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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