Binzuru Ceremonies


Ceremony for Binzuru (Binzuru mawashi)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: New Year, January 6
***** Category: Observance


Ceremony for Binzuru, Binzuru mawashi 賓頭盧廻
びんづるまはし, ひんつるまはし, びんずるまわし
Zenkooji 善光寺おびんずる回し、at Temple Zenko-Ji

Binzuru (Pinzuru) is one of the 16 arhats of Buddhism. His statue is usually outside beside the temple and people come to rub a part of it to heal the aching part of their own body. This type of statue is called "rubbing Buddha statue", nadebotoke (see below).

- shared by Thomas Carnacki, facebook

This special ceremony occurs on the sixth of January, one day before the "Seven Herbs" ceremony.

On this day at the temple Zenkoo-Ji 善光寺 in Nagano, the statue of Binzuru is dressed with a straw rope around his head. While the believers touch him with bamboo ladles (shamoji 杓), he is carried around the outer shrine and then back to his original place. People pray for health and good luck for the coming year.


 © 信州歳時記.冬


Bindora Baradaja

Also called Binzuru (J). Pindola Bharadraja (Skt).
West; resides with 1,000 disciples in Saikudani-shi (Skt. Aparagodani); the most widely revered of the Arhats in Japan; all the others are less known to Japanese lay worshippers, and they rarely serve as the central objects of devotion.
Pindola, however, according to the Flammarion Iconographic Guide on Buddhism, is the Arhat par excellence in Japan, and is mainly worshipped by lay people.

Quote: "In Japan, Pindola is represented as an old man seated on a high-backed chair, with white hair and bushy eyebrows. Statues of him, in painted wood or stone, are usually well worn, since the faithful follow the custom of rubbing a part of the effigy corresponding to the sick parts of their bodies, as he is reputed to have the gift of healing.

He is also very frequently offered red and white bibs and children's caps to watch over the health of babies, so that his statue is often decked in rags. He is represented in painting as an old man seated on a rock, holding in his hand a sort of sceptre (Japanese shaku), or a sutra box and a feather fan.

All the other Arahants are usually worshipped in Japan in his person. In some cases, his efficgy is placed in monastery refectories, as at the Jikido (Shakudo) in Todai-ji Temple (Nara), and in Hieizan."

Bindora Baradaja 賓度羅跋羅惰闍
by Mark Schumacher


Binzuru Dance (Binzuru odori) in Nagano
長野びんずる 踊り


... ... ...

Dance with Us at the Binzuru Festival!


Click HERE to see some more of the famous Binzuru statues.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Buddha Statues to rub for good luck
nadebotoke 撫で仏, 撫仏, なでぼとけ 

Binzuru, O-Binzuru sama, is the most famous of them all. His statues are in front of many temples.

Statue of Standing Daruma :
You can touch any part of his body which hurts on your own body and pray for good health. Daruma san is especially known for his strong legs, after all he walked quite a way if legend is true...
Usually we have a statue of Binzuru-sama ビンズルさま as a healer to touch. You rub him on the spot where your own body hurts, but here our Daruma takes the part of the healer.

Daruma-ji - A Temple in Nishi Izu
by Gabi Greve


Jizo as a rubbing healer in Asakusa, Tokyo
A healer to touch.

© 白い香り


Fudo Myo-O at Tempel Yokoyamadera横山寺, 島根県隠岐郡隠岐の島町

If you touch the part that hurts you, you will be healed.

© Nihon no Minwa

Read more about Fudo Myo-O 不動明王 in my BLOG


Here is a badger to be rubbed for good luck, fukutanuki 福狸.
We found him in front of a ricewine store in Kurayoshi, 2006. His breast was quite worn out, he/she must be a helper for mothers with small babies.

More about the Tanuki and Daruma


Once I visited a small temple way back in the North of Japan. The touching Buddha was a Kannon Bosatsu in a female incarnation, with rather large breasts. She was seated on a lotus throne on a high podest. Mothers would come to her to touch the breast and pray for milk while breastfeeding.
The statue was so high up, many mothers could not reach the breasts at all. So it was customary in this temple to touch one of her knees instead. And believe me, the knees where all worn out and shiny!


Click HERE to see a few more of these touching healers !


nadeusagi, nade-usagi なでうさぎ rabbit to rub

大神神社 Omiwa Shrine
- reference : nadeusagi omiwa -


Binzuru-mawashi sentoo ayumu to to narinu

I became
the head of the party
for the Binzuru ceremony

((Rikukawa Naonori))

Binzuru is the wooden statue at Zenko-ji temple . The divine grace is to cure illness, and its annual ceremony is held on January sixth. People hit its head by rice spoons with their familiarity to Binzuru to thank for its works for them for a year.

Shiraobi Haiku Magazine, January 2006


Binzuru in Nara, Temple Todaiji

- Photo : Nicolas Delerue -

Issa and his Haiku about Binzuru Sama

binzuru o hito nade-nadete ki no me kana

giving Saint Binzuru
a rub...
the budding tree

Here, a tree's budding branch (ki no me) is doing the lucky rubbing.

binzuru wa nade nakusaruru momiji kana

keeping Saint Binzuru
from being rubbed...
a red leaf

Haiga by Nakamura Sakuo

In this comic haiku, an autumn leaf has fallen onto the statue's holy head.
Sakuo Nakamura notes that Binzuru-sama is famous for his bald head, which people rub in hopes of recovering from sickness. Here, a leaf is doing the rubbing, "like a baby's palm."

binzuru no o-hiza ni netaru kigisu kana

in Saint Binzuru's lap
sound asleep...
a pheasant

binzuru no me bakari hikaru kesa no yuki

Saint Binzuru's
eyes glittering...
this morning's snow

Yoshida Miwako sheds further light on this haiku: in a dark temple, votive lamps darken Binzuru's image with soot, but his glass eyes still glitter. It's a pitiful feeling, Yoshida adds, the glittering eyes in the gloom. On this gray winter day, the first big snow of the year twinkles like Binzuru's eyes. See Issa burai (Nagano: Shinano Mainichi Shimbunsha, 1996) 186.

binzuru no o-hana o naderu kochô kana

rubbing St. Binzuru's
holy nose...
little butterfly

In the haiku, a butterfly also strokes the saint for good health.

Tr. David Lanoue

- - - - -

ume saku ya teaka ni hikaru nade-botoke

plums are blossoming -
the rubbed Buddha shines
from the dirt of hands

Tr. Gabi Greve

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

Related words

***** WKD: Ceremonies and Festivals of Japan

. Binzuru sama ema 絵馬  .
Temple Jako-In (Jakoin) at Inuyama 寂光院 犬山

Introducing Japanese Deities


Binzuru Sama (Pindola)

Einer von Shakyamunis Jüngern. Der Erste der 16 Arhats, der erste mit übernatürlichen Kräften.

In Japan bald als Gottheit verehrt, die körperliche Leiden und Gebrechen heilt. Daher finden sich seine Statuen oft in den Vorhallen der Tempel, so daß die Gläubigen darum herum laufen können und dabei diejenigen Stellen der Statue berühren, die an ihrem eigenen Körper erkrankt sind. Die Statuen sind entsprechend blank und abgerieben. Besonders bei Holzfiguren sind die Augen und die Nase fast ganz abgerieben.
Oft auch im Refektorium eines Klosters aufgestellt.

Sitzende Figur eines alten Mönchs mit kahlem Kopf, der Oberkörper nackt mit sichtbaren Rippenknochen, mit einem Tuch über den Schultern. Häufig aus Metall gefertigt.

. Buddhastatuen ... Who is Who   

Ein Wegweiser zur Ikonografie
von japanischen Buddhastatuen

Gabi Greve, 1994


Shoohooji 正法寺 Shoho-Ji
Temple 10 of the Bando Pilgrimage
source : facebook


. komainu 狛犬 / 高麗犬 / 胡麻犬 "Korean Dog" .

nade komainu なでこまいぬ a Komainu to rub

by 加藤藤四郎 Kato Toshiro (Kamakura period)

at the shrine Suehiko Sha 陶彦社
in the compound of 深川神社 Fukagawa Jinja, Aichi

The small figures are sold with the intention to have a wish granted
o-negai Komainu お願い狛犬

- quote -
Fukagawa and Suehiko Shrines
The two adjacent shrines are both extremely old. Fukagawa Shrine is believed to be around 1,200 years old, dating back to the Nara Period of Japanese history, and the shrine's treasure house, has a pair of guardian dogs, komainu, made by the legendary potter Toshiro Kato, the founder of Seto's ceramic industry.
The roof of Fukagawa Shrine
is covered with glazed, green, ceramic tiles called oribeyaki. Look out for the replica statue of a dog in the shrine's grounds near the main hall. Legend has it that during a dream a dog told Toshiro where to dig to find the high quality clay he was searching for. As a sign of thanks Toshiro crafted an image of a guardian dog (komainu) for the shrine. The originals are kept in the treasure house (see below for hours and admission fee).
Suehiko Shrine,
next door, enshrines the spirit of master potter Toshiro Kato, who was active here in Seto in the 13th century.
- source : japanvisitor.blogspot.jp -

Suehiko Jinja 陶彦神社


- #nadebotoke #nadeusagi -


Anonymous said...

Thank you Gabi san
for your adding my haiga to your blog referring to Binzuru.
There are many interesting things featured at the blog.


Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

ume saku ya te-aka ni hikaru nade-botoke

plum blossoms --
stroked by dirty hands
the healing Buddha shines

Comment by Chris Drake :

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Shikoku Henro

Nr. 19 - 橋池山 Kyochizan 摩尼院 Mani-In 立江寺 Tatsue-Ji

In the compound is a small statue with a very shiny red face. It is a statue of Binzuru, one of the first sixteen disciples of the Buddha. He was a physician and came from a family of distinguished physicians.

Gabi Greve said...

Baisoin, Baisō-In 梅窓院 Baiso-In - Minami-Aoyama
長青山 Choseizan 寶樹寺 Hoju-Ji
Binzuru 賓頭盧 is venerated near the entrance of the temple.