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Wednesday, 24th December 2008
In General Japan News,

Buddhist monk enlightens curious tourists

A Swiss-born, bilingual monk is helping foreigners to gain a greater understanding of Buddhism in the sacred area of Koyasan, it has been reported.

Kurt Genso, whose real name is Kurt Kubli, recites the sutra along with other monks for an hour and a half before inviting visitors to drink tea and ask questions about the ceremony.

The 1,200-year-old religious complex in the Wakayama Prefecture has seen a surge in the number of visitors since it was named a World Heritage Site in 2004, reports the Associated Press.

Mr Genso first came to Koyasan 11 years ago and admits taking on the role of "a PR monk for tourism was maybe not really what I looked for".

He added: "It can only be a cultural guide, but since we don't speak about cinema or so and speak about Buddhist content, you always transmit a Buddhist teaching."

Koyasan is the spiritual centre of Shingon Buddhism, a sect which first came about in Japan in the year 805.

Related news stories:
Viability of Buddhist temples 'in doubt' (3rd September 2008)