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 LOL: Monks Delivered via Amazon as Role of Japanese Temples Fade

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PostSubject: LOL: Monks Delivered via Amazon as Role of Japanese Temples Fade   Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:47 pm

YACHIYO, Japan — In Japan, where communal ties to local Buddhist temples are fading, families have in recent years been able to go online to find a Buddhist monk to perform funerals and other rituals.

But when Amazon Japan allowed a provider to offer "Obo-san bin," or "Mr. Monk Delivery," on its website, it shone a spotlight on the emerging trend and prompted a major Buddhist organization to criticize the Internet marketer of commercializing religion.

A basic plan for monk, transportation and a donation offered by the Tokyo-based provider, Minrevi Co., one of dozens of emerging budget companies, costs 35,000 yen ($300). Three other options are available for more money. The monks would typically go to a home, funeral hall or a grave to perform the requested ceremony.

"Such a thing is allowed in no other country in the world. In this regard, we must say we are disappointed by an attitude toward religion by Amazon," Akisato Saito, director of the Japan Buddhist Association, said in a statement.

Many Japanese, however, welcome the service as a consumer-friendly approach to Buddhist rituals, whose cost is often perceived as murky and overpriced. Buddhist-style memorial services offered by temples comparable to the "monk delivery" could cost as 100,000 yen ($830). Funerals are even more expensive and can cost well over 1 million yen ($8,500).

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/01/30/world/asia/ap-as-rel-japan-monk-delivery.html?_r=1

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