Japanese Buddhists pray for peace at Clark

Goddess of Peace Shrine. Photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org

CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines—Leaders of the Buddhist Saifukuji Temple in Japan led a pilgrimage prayer for world peace at the Goddess of Peace Shrine here on Friday.

About 100 Filipinos and Japanese joined the rites, where Shingon Buddhist priests Gosen Ikeguchi and Yumyo Sameshima performed the goma fire ritual in front of the 5-ton granite statue of Guanyin, the East Asian Buddhists’ Goddess of Peace and Mercy.

The statue, which was molded in China and shipped to the Philippines in 2000, was commissioned by Ekan Ikeguchi, the abbot of the Saifukuji Temple in Kagoshima, Japan, who led the yearly pilgrimage prayer for world peace here from 1998 to 2012.

The shrine is located in Lily Hill, which is also called the birthplace of the Kamikaze, the squadrons of Japanese suicide attack planes that sank dozens of Allied ships in the Pacific between 1944 and 1945.

This hill, which used to provide a commanding view of the airfield here during the war, also served as the backbone of the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy’s Kempu Group, which delayed the advance of the American liberation forces for a week in January 1945.

Muslim religious leaders, Catholic priests and pastors of other Christian groups delivered messages during the pilgrimage. Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon

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