07/29/2019, 12.47
JAPAN
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Todaiji Buddhist temple takes a stance against poverty

The shrine is one of the most famous and visited in the whole of Japan. The monks have decided to share offerings intended for maintenance with the neediest in Nara prefecture. The Otera Oyatsu Club has 1,250 participating temples and is fighting to eliminate child malnutrition.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Buddhist monks from the Todaiji temple, Tawaramoto, Nara Prefecture, are sharing offerings from worshippers with single mothers and other needy households.

The monks established an NGO, the Otera Oyatsu Club, which set up donation boxes at the Great Buddha Hall of Todaiji temple in Nara as part of an anti-poverty drive.

The club was created after the chief priest of Anyoji, a temple of the Jodo sect of Buddhism in Tawaramoto, was moved after the bodies of a mother in her 20s and her 3-year-old son were found in their flat in Osaka several months after their deaths in 2013.

The mother left a note, apparently written for her son, that said, “I’m sorry you could not eat your fill.”

Matsushima began working with other monks to provide everyday items to households suffering from poverty.

Currently, 1,250 temples and 450 other organisations are collaborating in the project. It is estimated that they currently provide offerings to 10,000 needy children a month.

The Otera Oyatsu Club decided to install collection boxes at Todaiji because many tourists from abroad visit the temple.

“I would like those from overseas to realise that poverty has not been eliminated in the advanced nation of Japan,” Matsushima said.

“When thinking about how to address the issue of poverty, people should proceed with efforts they can do by themselves,” he added.

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