Tokushima: Mandala of Light Created with Helping Hands of Online Worshippers

Tokushima: Mandala of Light Created with Helping Hands of Online Worshippers

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A bamboo mandala in Anan, Tokushima Prefecture

The Yomiuri Shimbun

11:50 JST, March 2, 2024

ANAN, Tokushima — A giant mandala 6 meters high and 12 meters wide has been created by the Byodoji temple in Anan, Tokushima Prefecture, with the help of online worshipers.

The mandala comprises about 5,600 bamboo panels with dotted holes forming Sanskrit characters and shines beautifully when illuminated. It is lit from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily on the temple premises.

The increase of online worshipers to the temple was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the temple started to stream its main hall around the clock on YouTube to help people pray at any time. Chief priest Shinryo Taniguchi began interacting with such worshippers, resulting in the idea to create a bamboo mandala together.

The area around the temple is a production site for takenoko bamboo shoots. Taniguchi got bamboo from a friend who grows takenoko nearby.

The bamboo was cut into 10-centimeter-square panels with Sanskrit characters laser-printed on them. Taniguchi, his family and temple apprentices bored holes on them along the lines of the characters. About 200 online worshippers nationwide also helped with the project. Bamboo panels were sent to worshippers, who sent them back after boring the holes. Some went to the temple to work on the project.

The mandala was completed on Feb. 10, several months after the project began in June 2023.

“We’ve connected online with people we’d never known, and we managed to bring the connections into a tangible form. We’re really happy,” Taniguchi said.


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