Prayers for the Pandemic: 1,300 Years of Ritual at Todaiji *RERUN
Every early spring since the 8th century, Buddhist monks at Nara Prefecture's Todaiji have practiced the Shuni-e ceremony. A series of esoteric rituals, including prayers to Kannon to protect humankind from disaster and disease, it also offers a window into Tang dynasty China. But in 2021, the COVID pandemic threatened to bring a halt to this uninterrupted tradition. Aided by an infectious disease specialist, the monks go to great lengths to hold this ancient practice for the 1,270th time.