In an effort to make his Buddhist temple more accessible to the wider public and draw younger generations to religion, a former DJ turned Buddhist priest has been holding “techno memorial services” at his temple in Fukui City, Japan.
Attending one of the unconventional memorial services organized at the Shō-onji Buddhist temple by 49-year-old Gyōsen Asakura feels more like a warehouse rave than a traditional religious experience. A kaleidoscope of psychedelic lights bathes the golden decorations of the temple, and electronic music ranging from IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) to breakbeats blends with chantings of Buddhist scripture.
The sight of a Buddhist priest wearing his traditional garb, but also sporting a pair of large headphones while operating a DJ station during his sermon only adds to the psychedelic feel of attending a techno memorial service at Shō-onji. It’s definitely a strange experience, but one that it is fulfilling its purpose of bringing people, especially youths, back to religion.