Insect Sutras

Yet more fascinating stuff from Asia:

“One example of Buddhism’s reverence for this sacrifice of life is a prayer service performed every September in Agui-cho, Aichi Prefecture. Held since the Heian period (which makes the practice more than 1,000 years old) the Chita Insect Memorial Prayer Service originated in the chanting of a nembutsu (Buddhist invocation) for the insects sacrificed in the paddies and fields while farming.”

Very cool! I haven’t been able to find anything else out about this, so if you know more, please let me know. There is an Insect Sutra which is unrelated (I think); it’s also quite beautiful:

Rushing headlong, missing what’s essential,
bringing on one new bond
after another,
like insects falling into the flame,
some are intent only on what’s seen & heard.

One thought on “Insect Sutras

  1. Hello, nice blog. :)

    The Insect Sutra is more of an analogy that the Buddha drew to show how people engage heedlessly in self-destructive behavior, like moths to a flame. The moths are attracted by the bright lights, even if it is dangerous, and so people will do all kinds of self-destructive behavior to achieve their cravings.

    I wasn’t aware of the Memorial Service for insects in Japan (Aichi Prefecture). I’ve heard of similar services in Japan, so I am not too surprised. ;) It’s common in East Asian Buddhism to practice memorials for large groups of people or animals.

    I always figured that it’s better to help animals now, than grieve for the one’s past. :) That would be in keeping with the Buddha’s reminder to focus on the present since the past is the past.

    Take care!

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