NAHA, Japan — At a Zen Buddhist temple in southern Japan, even the
dog prays. Mimicking his master, priest Joei Yoshikuni, a 1 1/2-year-old
black-and-white Chihuahua named Conan joins in the daily prayers at
Naha's Shuri Kannondo temple, sitting up on his hind legs and putting
his front paws together before the altar.
It took him only a few days to learn the motions, and now he is the talk of the town.
"Word has spread, and we are getting a lot more tourists," Yoshikuni said Monday.
Yoshikuni said Conan generally goes through his prayer routine at the
temple in the capital of Japan's southern Okinawa prefecture (state)
without prompting before his morning and evening meals.
"I think he saw me doing it all the time and got the idea to do it, too," Yoshikuni said.
The priest is now trying to teach him how to meditate.
Well, sort of.
"Basically, I am just trying to get him to sit still while I
meditate," he explained. "It's not like we can make him cross his legs."
Conan, a Chihuahua, sits on his hind legs, raises his paws and puts them together at the tip of his nose.
"He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks," says a priest at Jigenin temple on Okinawa island.
Priest Joei Yoshikuni would like Conan to meditate, but "it's not like we can make him cross his legs", he says.
"Basically, I am just trying to get him to sit still while I meditate," he told Associated Press news agency.
Mr Yoshikuni said it only took Conan a few days to imitate the motions of praying.
"I think he saw me doing it all the time and got the idea to do it too," he said.
Jigenin temple now gets 30% more visitors than it did before Conan joined in the prayers, Mr Yoshikuni said.