A Look at Some of Asia’s Oddest Temples

Posted on July 15, 2014

We all know that the world has a number of diverse religions. In some, worshipers practice monotheism, or believe that there is only one god. Christians are examples. On the other hand, there are also those who believe that there are several gods.

In East Asia, most regions are polytheistic. Taosim, East Asian sects of Buddhism, and Shintoism are just some examples of religions in which people believe that there are a lot of gods.

In line with that, let’s take a look at some of East Asia’s uncanny religions and their temples.

Mummified Monks

In Japan, Shingon Buddhism includes the art of self-mummification. Monks in this religion are said to do rigorous exercise and starve themselves to get rid of all body fat. For the first 1,000 days, they eat only nuts and seeds. For the following 1,000 days, they munch on bark and roots while sipping tea made from urushi tree sap. After this, they seal themselves in a chamber to meditate. The monks will ring a bell once in a while to let their companions know that they are still alive. If after sometime the bell wasn’t rang, the other monks will seal the chamber completely. After 1,000 days, they would re-open the chamber and see if the self-mummification has been completed.

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Even though everyone supposedly undergoes the same process, not all achieve the state of self-mummification. As of the present date, only 24 or so corpses have successfully been mummified. These corpses are now displayed and revered in their temples.

Breast Shrine

Also from Japan, an eccentric temple is frequented by a lot of ladies who want to be blessed with bigger breasts. Located in Soja, in Okayama Prefecture, this unique shrine serves as a haven for those who want to have bigger boobs, those who want to have their babies delivered safely and lactate afterwards, and those who want themselves healed of breast cancer.

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Believers write their wishes on wooden planks with fake, animated breasts as the main design, and hang them inside the shrine afterwards, in hopes of having Chichigamisama (the Shinto goddess) grant their prayers.

Tapsa Temple

In North Jeolla-do, South Korea, there stands a peaceful place of worship made by Yi Gap Yong, a Buddhist monk.

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He personally built 120 stone pagodas, piling stones one on top of one other. Around 80 still stand, with some even being thrice a man’s height.

Gay Rabbit God Shrine

The concept of LGBTs is now becoming accepted by some people in Taiwan. In 2005, a gay Taoist priest established the gay rabbit temple. This shrine, hidden in the suburbs, is slowly gaining supporters. Believers worship the rabbit god, which is said to be the spirit of Tianbao Hu. Hu was beaten to death in his time after he proclaimed his love for the one of the same sex. LGBT followers believe that the rabbit god is looking upon them.

Do you know of any other odd temples in Asia? Share them with us!

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Genevieve Baxa

Genevieve Baxa is a college student living in the Philippines. She has a great passion in writing, especially in writing short stories. This unpredictable lady loves everything about East Asia. She is enthralled by the culture and fashion of these countries. She also loves everything about children; teaching them; taking care of them; and playing with them. In addition to that, Genevieve especially loves to go on Mission Trips and serving different kinds of people. Above everything else, she is a lady who fears her God.
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