Representatives from one of the most important Buddhist temples in Japan dating back to the eighth century admitted Thursday a high-ranking monk hit a young trainee monk, rupturing his eardrum.
In a rare announcement, the Enryaku-ji temple offered an apology to its followers and pledged to guide its monks and staff “so they will live up to their position as servants of Buddha.”
According to the temple on Mt. Hiei in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture in western Japan, a 40-year-old monk, who works as deputy chief of a lodging facility on the temple premises, punched a 25-year-old monk several times in the face at the facility on April 9.
The younger monk had been told by a different high-ranking monk to summon his superior. The trainee monk conveyed the request to the deputy chief via the front desk, which infuriated him as he expected to be directly notified of the request.
It was not the first incident of physical violence involving the deputy chief.
He manhandled a 35-year-old monk and a 27-year-old monk causing them to fall in two separate incidents between February and April this year, said the temple, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As a punishment, Enryaku-ji suspended the 40-year-old monk from work beginning Sunday and made him submit a written pledge that he will never repeat the violence. Representatives of the temple also set up a recurrence prevention committee in response to the scandal.
Enryaku-ji has not reported these cases of physical violence to the police, said the temple, which is the headquarters of the Tendai school of Buddhism known for an extremely severe 1,000-day “kaihogyo” training.
Aimed at achieving enlightenment while offering prayer, monks undertaking the training must spend nine days without eating, drinking, sleeping or lying down while chanting 100,000 sutras as part of the 1,000-day ordeal.
Enryaku-ji was established in 788 by Saicho, founder of the Tendai school.
Source: Kyodo Image: JNN