Sogenji monastery

Bishamon Sai

Sogenji was originally built by the local Feudal lords as a Buddhist place of practice. At that time only people of practice were allowed to enter the monastery, yet during the time of Zen Master Taigen Shigen (1837) the Bishamon ceremony was introduced to also make a connection to society and give lay people a chance to come and join in a ceremony. This explains how the unusual situation of having a Bishamon ceremony in a Zen monastery came about. Soon after his death this ceremony got forgotten about, yet was revived during the time of Zen master Denne Roshi (1940), who also built a special Bishamon shrine where the guest house is now. This shrine burned down the same year when Denne Roshi died, and now the Bishamon statue is on the Hondo altar. On the third day of each month the Bishamon ceremony is held, inviting lay people to join in the ceremony which is followed by a Dharma Talk, a meal and a tea ceremony. Today since it is the first day of the Golden week National holidays, there were over 120 guests joining in. Bishamon is one of the Seven Lucky Gods, but is seen more as a strong protector (symbolized in his armor) of Buddhism. 

The Daihannya Sutra is being read……

…and food is being served to all the guests – today bamboo baby rice and soup.


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