Kaigen-hoyo (開眼法要)

Kaigen-hoyo is a Buddhist memorial service held at the completion of Buddhist statue, painting, altar, or tomb.

It is also called Kaigen-kuyo, Nyukon-shiki, or Tamaire.

An exception of Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) will be described later.


When making a Buddhist statue, 'tensei,' or inserting the eyes is performed at the end of the process to consecrate a man-made statue.

Since the statue is completed by investing it with soul, tensei in particular was regarded as important and later became a ceremony of 'Kaigen-hoyo.'

Todai-ji Temple Great Buddha

A famous Kaigen-hoyo in Japan is Todai-ji Temple Great Buddha (Vairocana) Eye-opening ceremony held on May 30, 752.

It was held by the Emperor Shomu and a Buddhist priest Bodai Senna who came to Japan from Tenjiku (India) via Tang (China) inserted the eyes.

At the ceremony, five-color ropes attached to the writing brush to insert the eyes were handed to the people gathered so that they could receive a blessing.

Exception: Jodo Shinshu

Jodo Shinshu has no concept of investing honzon (principal image of Buddha) with soul; instead, they hold a Buddhist service for auspicious event called 'goishi' or 'owatamashi' (written as 御移徙).

The kanji characters '移徙' (ito) (also called '徙移' [shii]) used in 'goishi' means to move or transfer. When it is called 'watamashi,' it is an honorific expression of transfer of a noble person, referring to the Buddha to worship.

[Original Japanese]