In Japan, where communal ties to local Buddhist temples are fading, families have in recent years been able to go online to find a Buddhist monk to perform funerals and other rituals.
But when Amazon Japan allowed a provider to offer “Obo-san bin,” or “Mr Monk Delivery,” on its website, it shone a spotlight on the emerging trend and prompted a major Buddhist organization to criticize the Internet marketer of commercializing religion.
A basic plan for monk, transportation and a donation offered by the Tokyo-based provider, Minrevi Co, one of dozens of emerging budget companies, costs 35,000. Three other options are available for more money. The monks would typically go to a home, funeral hall or a grave to perform the requested ceremony.
I – Word Understanding
Communal ties = active participation in community activities
Shone a spotlight = to give special attention (to someone or something)
II – Have Your Say
1. Aside from performing funeral rituals, what are the other roles of temples and Monks to Japan’s society?
2. What do you think of the phrase “Born Shinto, Die Buddhist”?
3. Why is Buddhism fading in Japan?
4. Are you in favor of “Mr. Monk Delivery” by Amazon? What good does it bring to both Japan society and the temples?