The Yomiuri ShimbunNARA — An annual ritual was held Monday to dust off the 15-meter-tall Great Buddha statue at Todaiji temple in Nara.
The Ominugui ritual began at 7 a.m. with a Buddhist service, led by the temple’s chief priest Fumon Sagawa, which is believed to “remove the soul” of the Buddha. Afterward, about 180 priests and worshippers wearing masks and clad in white outfits climbed onto the hands and knees of the Vairocana Buddha statue — a designated national treasure — to polish it with cloths.
Some people worked in baskets hanging from the ceiling of the Great Buddha Hall, cleaning the statue’s face and chest. It took about two hours to clean and purify the statue.