Online Shabutsu Project

Online Shabutsu Project

Online Shabutsu Project

The spread of COVID-19 all over the world deprived us of happy and tranquil moments. Even though some countries are gradually emerging from their lockdowns, we still don’t know when our daily lives return to be normal.

We all know that there is nothing more important than our lives. However, our emotions sometimes don’t follow this logic. The updates of the situation, rumors running through the internet, the anxiety over your work, delayed education for your children, etc…  Many of you may be stressed and worn out because of these things. Above all, the threat to your life and those of your beloved ones can be highly stressful. The dreadful virus also cuts the bonds among us, which makes us weaker.

Under these circumstances, we, SOCIAL TEMPLE, have been asking ourselves what we can do. Online Shabutsu Project was the answer.

What is Shabutsu?

Normally, a “shabutsu” meeting is held in a room in a Buddhist temple guided by a priest or a monk. Sha means tracing, butsu means Buddha. Tracing the image of Buddha is said to be helpful for you to meditate, get rid of your anxieties, and obtain enlightenment in the Buddhist teaching. Focusing on tracing the model in a quiet room will clear your mind regardless of your religion.

Who are we, SOCIAL TEMPLE?

SOCIAL TEMPLE is General Incorporated Association and a temple without a building and walls. In Japan’s Buddhism, there are thirteen major and traditional denominations (called shu), just as there are several denominations within Christianity. Priests and monks in Yamanashi prefecture, regardless of shu, gather as a team to resolve social problems.

How can you participate in Online Shabutsu Project?

Online Shabutsu Project is the event that anyone can participate in by downloading the model drawings free of charge. We prepared different models drawn by the award-winning painter called Eisui, a painter who is inspired by the philosophy of Gautama Buddha. Thanks to Eisui’s pieces of work, the models for Online Shabutsu Project are NOT the images of Buddhas, which are normally used in “shabutsu” meeting in Buddhist temples. They are more artistic and each model has its own philosophical meaning that is designed to generate peace of mind and mental wellbeing regardless of the religion.
(Click here to know more about Eisui.)


Step 1

Download the models at

The model will be changed weekly.

Step 2

Print the model on A4 or Letter size paper. Trace the outline with a calligraphy brush. If you do not have one at home, any pen is OK. You can also apply colors to your drawing if you want. The important part is to concentrate on tracing, which will sweep away your anxieties and fear.

Step 3

Post your “shabutsu” drawing on Instagram with a hashtag #onlineshabutsu.

Step 4

Send your “shabutsu” by post to one of two temples below. If you have anything you want to consult with Buddhist priests about, write to them in English. You will receive the answer.

Some countries are unable to post to Japan right now. In this case please hold on and post when you are able to.

Shimosanjo 3, Chuo-shi, Yamanashi-ken 409-3822 JAPAN

Nakano 2312, Nambu-cho, Minamikoma-gun, Yamanashi-ken 409-2211 JAPAN

Taiga Ichikawa, the chief priest of Myokyu-ji, has an experience of working in temples in overseas, Sacramento, Seattle, and London.

Step 5

A “Goshuin” card will be sent from the temple which you had sent your “shabutsu” drawing to.

What is Goshuin?

Many of you who have been in Japan may know it. Perhaps you bought one as a souvenir or to commemorate a visit to a temple. Originally “goshuin” is given to worshippers as a proof of your act of oblation, (your offering to buddha or gods), one of which is “shabutsu”. A monk or a priest will hand-write the name of the temple with some Buddhist teachings and stamp it on a page of your Goshuin book. In Online Shabutsu Project you will receive a “goshuin” on a piece of Japanese classic paper. So, if you have your own “goshuin book”, you can glue it in.


Step 6

Make a visit to the temple after COVID-19 is gone!

The Model of This Week

Shourenge Ryuō (Dragon King of Blue Lotus Flowers)

It is the eighth dragon king among Eight Dragon Kings which is said to dwell in a pond where blue lotus blooms. I drew this image inspired by a phrase in a sutra describing the pond in the Pure Land that shines from the bottom where lotus flowers of five colors bloom. My Dragon raises its head looking at me in silence.

In ancient times people made a prayer to dragons to beg for rain at the time of drought. Rain can give water to the field and let trees and crops grow, but it can also cause river floods if the amount goes beyond the capacity. The Dragon of Blue Lotus Flowers, which can be called the king of the dragons, may have been a general that gave directions to subordinates in each area.

It must have been big, cool, and collected enough to gain recognition and cachet. My imagination let me draw this figure; a dragon that is giving a gentle glance toward people in the morning mist.




Some tips from Maestra Eisui:

  1. Change the strength of the lines between the lining of the body and the detailed parts such as scales. Your drawing may look well-organized.
    Draw firmly the lines that represents the movement of the body such as the body lines, arms, and legs. For the detailed parts, on the other hand, draw the thin and delicate lines. 
  1. Visualize in your mind how you draw before starting to draw large circles.
    When you draw the large circle around the tail, set the paper direction properly to make it easier for you to draw the circle. Draw the circle at a stretch breathing out, you may be able to draw without hesitation.
  1. Do not draw the flames and whiskers when you are nervous.
    ・Draw fine lines such as short whiskers first until you get used to it. And then draw long lines of whiskers and flames.