Apr. 26th, 2015

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Culture Notes

9 - 6

Kanjo - charms or slips of paper written upon by a Buddhist monk and traditionally placed on the inside of the coffin lid. Sometimes in modern days they're rested on the body during the last viewing, as monks are not always the ones to prepare and place the body into the coffin any longer. Different sects have variations on how it's done, but the general elements on kanjo are the six kanji characters making up a familiar chant of "I believe in the Buddha" and the date of death, the age of when the person died, the dead's posthumous name, and often the mark of the monk who issued the kanjo. One reason for this charm is because it isn't considered good in Buddhism to worship a corpse, and yet when praying and focusing on the corpse during various funeral events it certainly seems worship is directed at it; the slip of paper marks not the corpse but the person who is going on to another realm of enlightenment, or alternately to make it clear that it's a prayer to a deity or Buddha instead. 
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