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Friday, 6th March 2009
In General Japan News,

Zen and the art of not smoking

A growing number of Buddhist temples throughout Japan have enacted smoking bans, it has emerged.

No-smoking sings are commonplance at the Koganji temple of the Sotoshu sect, reports the Daily Yomiuri.

The signs are placed at 11 locations around the temple's ground, including at the Arai Kannon statue where visitors rub and splash themselves with water.

"Zen's benefits are ruined if you smoke," commented Meiki Kuruma, chief priest at the temple.

He added: "This temple's main Buddhist deity is Jizo Bosatu, to whom we pray for long life. Actions that shorten a person's life span aren't acceptable here."

Meanwhile, the Chosenji temple in Kakuda, Miyagi Prefecture, imposed a total ban on smoking several years ago.

The Yomiuri Shimbun recently reported that Japan is moving to ban smoking in all public places in a bid to decrease the likelihood of exposure to secondary smoking.

Written by Mike Cotgreave