Japanese Buddhist temples to host blind dates

4 years ago by in Japan

More and more Buddhist temples have been joining the match making trend that has developed in Japan in the last years.

In the middle of February, 12 men and as many women aged between 30 and 40 gathered at Anrakuji, a temple of the Nichiren sect in the city of Wakayama, for a spouse-finding event. Each of them paid about Y2,500 for participation.

“Please value the chance of meeting each other here even if you do not find a partner,” Shunko Yoshino, chief priest of the temple, said.

The men introduced themselves to the women sitting at the tables and they took tea together. For about three minutes, the men talked about their occupation, families and other aspects of themselves, according to the international press.

“You have Buddha in yourself and I want you to find Buddha in other people. Buddha meets Buddha,” Yoshino said. After the meeting, participants wrote on cards the names of those they were interested in and gave them to Yoshino. Eventually, four participants found their match.

The matchmaking event was launched in 2011 by Yoshino and Ryushin Yasutake, 37, chief priest of Dorakuji, a temple of the Kuze Kannon sect in the town of Katsuragi, Wakayama Prefecture. They both agreed on the importance of families and came up with the idea of hosting matchmaking ceremonies in the temples.

“Temples should be places for mental growth and I hope (participants) will think they can become happy if they bring Buddhism into their daily lives,” Yoshino said.

“For people who found their spouses here, our temples are places they can return to and seek advice from,” Yasutake said.

Matchmaking events conducted by temples of different sects are also seen as a way of revitalizing the temples.