The Daruma Doll
Nanakorobi yaoki, jinsei wa kore kara da…
[To fall seven times, to rise eight times, life starts from now…]
Named after an ancient Chinese Zen Master, Bodidharma, who lost the use of his arms and legs after sitting nine years meditating in a cave, the Daruma Doll is a symbol of his self-discipline and positive outlook. Its weighted bottom and rounded shape forces this ancient cultural doll to right itself after being knocked over, teaching us to be dedicated and persistent and symbolizing our recoveries from misfortune.
The Daruma doll comes with both eyes blank. Upon purchasing or receiving it as a gift, you paint one eye and make a wish or begin a new project. The second eye is painted when the wish comes true or the project is completed.
At the end of the year, all the Daruma are brought back to the temple they were purchased from for a traditional burning ceremony.. This ceremony, called the Daruma Kuyo (だるま供養 daruma kuyo?) is held once a year usually right after New Years Day. The most renowned of these events are held at the Nishi-Arai Daishi Temple (Tokyo), and the Dairyu-ji Temple (Gifu). At these events, people bring the Daruma figures they had used that year to the temple. After expressing gratitude to them, they turn it over to the temple and buy new ones for the next year. All of the old Daruma figures are burnt together in the temple. After a solemn display of the monks’ entry, reading of the sutras, and blowing of horns, the tens of thousands of figurines are then set aflame.