Thursday, April 24, 2014

Goma Prayer Sticks

This photo is of DAI AJARI UEHARA GYOSHO's goma in Japan and shows the prayers written in Chinese characters, but here people will write them in English. The prayer sticks are written by the people attending the ceremony, and then entered into the fire offering (GOMA) by the officiating priest. While the priest is praying for the benefit of all beings, for extinguishing the causes of suffering, for identification with FUDO MYO-O, and for the vision of MAHAVAIROCANA BUDDHA, the people are usually praying for their needs in daily life. People in their 20's often pray for "Heart's Wish be Realized"; those in their 30's for "Family Safety"; those in their 40's for "Business Prosperity"; those in their 50's for "Husband-Wife Satisfaction"; and those 60 and older for "Relief from Health Problems".

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Professor/Bishop Ichishima's Father

The story of Ven Ichishima Shinryu illustrates one aspect of Buddhist karmic connections, called EN in Japanese. Ichishima Shoshin and myself have a strong connection going back 40 years, due in large part to the strong relation between his biological father and my spiritual father, Ven Enami Kakusho ('Gozen-sama').  Both fathers were special among the 400+ disciples of Enami Soken, all of whom trained in Kaiohogyo. In the book "Marathon Monks of Mt Hiei," author John Stevens relates that, "Enami was intent on restoring Tendai Buddhism as a force in the contemporary world . . . He realized that if Mt Hiei ceased to be a center of training, all was lost. He began his 1000-day kaihogyo in 1938. Enami Soken trained over 400 disciples and virtually all of the top Gyoja of the modern period were his disciples." Among these many disciples, Shinryu was the first, doing the 100 days in 1938, and Gozen-sama became the top disciple and successor to Soken. This strong relation then was passed down to their sons.