The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects

The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects

In ancient Japanese tradition, when a treasured household item reaches the end of usefulness – it’s given the proper funerary send off that it deserves. This unusual ritual harks back to two ancient philosophies. The Shinto Animist philosophy that all things alive or otherwise have a soul. And the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy that when a person attains enlightenment then all of the objects in their possession do as well.

The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects
Shinto Paper Offering

A Proper Goodbye For Needles and Pins: The Hari-kuyo Ritual

Each year on February 8th, seamstresses in Japan lay to rest their overworked implements in a proper burial. The needles and pins are placed into a block of tofu and the priest recites a sutra. Once this ceremony is completed the needles are buried either on land or at sea. A final show of thanks for their years of service.

 

The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects
Shinto Priest and Priestess

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