Japanese Shinto (08:43)
Peter Owen-Jones observes preparation for Oto Matsuri Fire Festival in Shingu; men strip down and pray, purifying themselves in the ocean. Two-thousand drunken men in white loincloths gather at Kamikura shrine; they race down stairs with personalized torches, symbolizing creations' chaos.
Buddhism: Naked Man Festival (04:04)
In Okayama, men participate in a Shinto inspired celebration of spring’s arrival; they dress in white fundoshi and drink warm sake until midnight when sticks are dropped through the top of a shrine. Whoever catches them is lucky for the rest of the year.
Hindu Street Shrine (02:26)
Owen-Jones visits an open air alter in downtown Bangkok; many pray and make offerings there. The sacred place is dedicated to Brahma, though Buddhism is the state religion.
Theravada Buddhism (05:07)
Owen-Jones attends Ordination Day at a monastery, celebrating young men’s understanding of how to control their desires. Monks focus on spiritually training them to deal with society, employment, and marriage. An abbot leads a procession around the temple three times.
Confucius was a civil servant, working for emperors; China was plagued by war, famine, and natural disasters. He devised a code for living life and maintaining various relationships. He wrote 13 texts, inscribing them on stone pillars in his temple.
Chinese Taoism (08:57)
Owen-Jones visits Jade Spring Monastery near Beijing; evening devotionals include traditions thousands of years old. The faith is ingrained in Chinese culture and history; devotees believe that finding Tao produces Qi and possibly immortality.
Korean Pentecostalism (07:45)
Seoul’s Yoido Full Gospel is the biggest church in the world; their religion is based in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They believe their prayers are vital to protecting them from the Communist north. Owen-Jones travels to Prayer Mountain to observe the vigil chambers of devoted followers.
Korean Shamanism (06:37)
Owen-Jones witnesses the celebration of a new day in a community built to revive traditional beliefs; their leader has designed the complex of decorative walls, pinnacles, and temples. Their faith is a blend of old philosophies; the sword is a symbol of inner discipline.
Cao Dai (05:27)
Tay Ninh’s religion began with a séance wherein a civil servant received messages from God, instructing him to unite all faiths. The Divine Eye is featured prominently throughout its main temple. Vestment colors represent Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.
Mother Goddess (04:25)
Owen-Jones visits the Dong Dang temple; mediums communicate devotees’ prayers to gods and the spirit world. If made happy, the deities will bless the congregation’s offerings, which are then distributed to the wanting.
Credits: Rituals: The Far East (00:31)
Credits: Rituals: The Far East
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