Story at a glance

  • The Buddhist goddess Kannon, or Kanzeon Bosatsu, is known as the goddess of mercy and compassion.
  • A Japanese temple placed a custom-made face mask on a statue of the goddess to pray for the end of the pandemic.
  • The country was slower than others to roll out COVID-19 vaccines, and only about 10 percent of the population has received a dose.

Believed to be a bodhisattva, Kannon-sama, whose proper name is Kanzeon Bosatsu, was able to achieve Nirvana but chose not to due to their compassion for others who are suffering, according to some interpretations.

Now Buddhists are turning to Kannon, known as the goddess of mercy and compassion, for an end to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. At the Houkokuji Aizu Betsuin temple in Fukushima Prefecture, workers climbed the spiral staircase within a hollow statue of Kannon to put a custom-made mask made of pink net fabric on her face, Reuters reported


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"Temple manager Takaomi Horigane said workers came up with the idea for the face mask in discussions on the restoration of the statue after it was damaged in an earthquake in February," the wire agency reported, with the intention of keeping the mask on until the COVID-19 situation is "under control."

Japan's more than 126 million-person population has received 26,376,451 doses, according to Reuters, which would allow for a roughly 10 percent vaccination rate. The country, which has a relatively high elderly population, was slower to roll out the vaccine than other parts of the world.


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Published on Jun 16, 2021