lifestyle

Monks delivered via Amazon as role of Japanese temples fade

10 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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10 Comments
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"a major Buddhist organization to criticize the Internet marketer of commercializing religion."

"Funerals are even more expensive and can cost well over 1 million yen."

The commercialization began with the outrageous prices for funerals and other services, not Amazon.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I wish someone would publish a list of where you can obtain Natural Funerals. Simple cremation and ash disposal into the sea is what I want.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@shonanbb - most everyone in Japan is simply cremated. What is done with the ashes after cremation is your own business. Ask a friend to say a few words and scatter your ashes to the sea. How natural is that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I started to write a post about how it's illegal to spread ashes in Japan, as I'm sure I had read this somewhere, but a little fact checking has shown me that I was incorrect. It does appear to be legal to spread ashes in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In fact, some experts predict that the majority of Japanese temples without income from tourism and other businesses are expected to close over the next several decades.

So to summarize, (insert new technology here) is threatening the economic future of a particular sector. This is something we've seen play out through history over and over, and the result is always the same -- those who can't adapt won't survive.

The concern I have, though, about providing religious services through the likes of Amazon is that the Minrevi service and/or monks shouldn't enjoy tax-exempt status from income they get from there.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am worried about how this will affect the ability of temples to survive - it would be a tragedy to see them be abandoned one after the next. Still, this may force temples to adapt. It wouldn't be difficult for temples to reach out over the Net with not only transparent fees for various services but also offers for other services such as lectures and meditation seminars that potential visitors had never considered.

The gravest problem temples face is that they have all of their eggs in one casket - uh, basket: the funeral industry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cool and thanks. Will let the spouse know and put it in giant writing.

I would assume that one can also decide what to do with the ashes of a spouse too. Other family members have no rights to decide deshoka?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Journalists should be more precise in language: I believe that the organization is sending out priests, not monks. Monks, according to English language usage, are men who live under a rule in communities and who have taken vows of chastity, poverty and celibacy, and this hold true for both Buddhists and Christians. Priests, on the other hand, work in the world and may be married or single. My family regularly utilizes Shingon Buddhist priests, but not monks, for their ceremonies.

As for cremation, scattering the ashes presents difficulties in Japan due to the problem of the bones. In the West, after cremation, the bones are dumped into a machine that resembles a drum clothes dryer or a cement mixer along with steel ball to crush them to powder. At a Japanese funeral, the bones are placed by the mourners, (certain bones assigned to certain family members) into a case for internment in the family tomb.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The irony of an organization whose members charge outrageous and obscure charges for their services bleating about commercialization of their industry is not lost on anyone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

shonnanb, yes you can have your ashes spread, but there are logistical problems. My wife's grandfather was buried at sea as per his wishes, but his older daughter still insisted on a regular open coffin funeral followed by the older brother flipping the switch for cremation followed by the various follow up vigils and auntie's insistance on making an annual pilgramage to the sea where his ashes were spread. Unless you get a will done in writing with a lawyer stipulating everything (very rare in Japan), someone will insist on all the bells and whistles that tend to emphasize death over life in family gatherings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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