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Japanese monks are planning to set up a Buddhist temple in space.
The Daigoji Temple in Kyoto was founded in 874 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It features such elements as a Benten altar in the middle of a pond and a five-story pagoda and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
While the temple has been an institution on Earth for more than 1,100 years, it now has ambitious plans to make a home in space.
The temple has teamed up with Terra Space, a Kyoto-based satellite research and development company, and wants to create the galaxy's first-ever place of worship – in the shape of a Buddhist temple.
Monks have set out plans to create the 'space temple' in a communications satellite which they have named Jōten'in Gō'unji and want to dedicate it to 'protecting the universe'.
The temple will be filled with sacred Buddhist items such as mandalas and a Vairocana (celestial Buddha statue) and orbit Earth once every 90 minutes at an altitude of around 278 miles.
On the temple's website, it explains the Vairocana Buddha will watch over the entire earth from the perspective of the universe.
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It went on to explain that by "actually feeling the warm eyes of Vairocana all over the world" from outer space, people can "always have warm feelings and strong feelings".
Once it has been blasted into space, people will be invited to take part in "space prayer" which will see monks in Kyoto pray for their wishes and then send it as data to the space temple.
When it has been received in the temple, the data will be stored and will be retained as long as the satellite stays in space, soranews reported.
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According to the temple "space Buddhist services" will be held regularly at the temple in aid of "the peace of the entire universe including on earth and the safety of human activities in the universe".
Monks have described the temple as a place that wishes for happiness and peace, where people can "connect with each other through outer space".
The development of the artificial satellite will start in February, and the launch is scheduled for 2023.
Launch sites are being considered in Japan, the US, China, Russia and India.
The satellites' lifespan is five to ten years and monks say after this it will "become a shooting star in the Earth's atmosphere and burn out".
They believe the temple will then truly become a part of the universe and "be with us forever".
On February 8, Daigoji Temple will be holding its first “space prayer ceremony.”
The ceremony will be held for the peace and safety of mankind as it continues to explore space.
It is hoped once the space temple is floating above the Earth's hemisphere future ceremonies will feature images broadcast from it.
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