Precincts Dyed by Candles at Stone Images"Manto Kuyo" Ritual at Injo-ji Temple, Shiga Prefecture
"Manto Kuyo," a memorial service for the souls of unknown dead people or those with no living relatives, was held at Injo-ji Temple in Kamiyama-cho, Higashiomi City, Shiga Prefecture on the night of August 22. The precincts glowed in an ethereal light from the flickering candles at approximately 6000 stone Buddhist images and towers while the worshippers prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
It has been said that the stone Buddhist images were scattered throughout this area when the feudal warlord Oda Nobunaga burnt down the nearby Hyakusai-ji Temple. Injo-ji Temple, one of the subsidiary temples of the burned temple, along with local people gathered the stone images together over about 10 years from 1976 on, and started the memorial service. This year marks its 32nd anniversary.
In the sultry air that lingered even after nightfall, "Gomataki," or a Buddhist rite of burning small wooden sticks, was followed by the candle lighting. In it, sacred children called "Chigo" and attired as "Yamabushi," or ascetic monks in the mountains lit candles along with worshippers. Families solemnly put their hands together in prayer as the numerous candles flickered.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)