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  Twice a year on the last day of June and December, Shinto shrines participate in a ceremony called Oharae. During the Oharae, the Torii pathway leading to the shrine is transformed with hundreds of people attending this ritual. The … Read More

Origami at temples and Shrines
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What is Sendazuru?-The most beautiful Origami: Senbazuru Have you ever heard of the story of Sadako Sasaki? The 12-year-old Sadako Sasako developed leukemia right after the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima. She tried to make 1,000 Origami cranes in order to … Read More

Buddhist Cuisine
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There are many factors that go along with becoming a Buddhist monk. It is generally understood that monks live drastically different lifestyles than most people, however, people rarely consider their diets.  Along with the other unique aspects of their lives, … Read More

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Hand copying sutra is called “Shakyo” in Japanese. Sutra copying is the East Asian practice of hand-copying Buddhist sutras. You can accumulate merits by this act of word-for-word sutra transcription. Other meritorious practices included the memorization and recitation of sutras. … Read More

What are Goshuin?
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               If you plan on visiting many temples and shrines in Japan, I recommend purchasing a goshuin first. The literal translation of ‘goshuin’ is “the honorable red stamp notebook.” For further explanation, the goshuin is a notebook made for collecting … Read More

What are Omikuji and Ema?
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                   On a patron’s first visit to a temple or shrine of the year, called the “hatsumode,” many people purchase an omikuji. An omikuji is a little strip of paper that tells the patron their fortune for the year. Omikuji … Read More

Kimono and Tea Ceremony
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Trying on a Furisode Kimono         The International Institute for Ritual Culture Education (IRCE) gave me the great honor of trying on a furisode kimono. A kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that is worn on special occasions and during festivals. … Read More