NARA — Buddhist monks dusted off statues of the Buddha at Yakushiji temple in Nara on Saturday at the annual ominugui (cleaning bodies) ceremony in preparation for the NeYear.
The temple’s statues include the Yakushi Sanzon triad statues that were erected during the Nara period (710-784) and are designated by the government as a national treasure.
In the temple’s Kondo hall, monks first put ladders on the statues while Choin Kato, the chief steward of the temple, and others read from sutras. They then meticulously cleaned the statues’ faces, shoulders and even between gathers of robes with cloths soaked in hot water. About 50 people, including Buddhist monks and volunteer students, helped out in the event.
In his address to approximately 200 worshipers, Kato said: “The Yakushi Sanzon have graciously received the impurities inside our minds for the year and we have just removed it. I hope you will renew your wishes for the New Year.”