73. Holy Fire for Invocation
On September 22, 1880, the Buddhist ritual of burning a holy fire for invocation1 was being performed in front of the main gate as part of the opening ceremonies for the Tenrin-Ō-Kosha. Oyasama, wearing Her usual red garments2, appeared at the six matted room located east of the north raised room3 which had the dais. She sat down, watched the proceedings for a short while with a smile, and then returned to Her room.
Concerning the establishment of the [confraternity], Oyasama previously had said:
“If you do such a thing God shall withdraw.”
Despite Her words, Shuji established the [confraternity] at the risk of his life. When one considers Oyasama’s acceptance of Shuji’s sincerity by Her gracious presence at the invocation, one cannot help but think of Her boundless parental love and be filled with deep emotion.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 63
- “Buddhist ritual of burning a holy fire for invocation” is a gloss for “o-goma 大護摩 o taiteiru.” I assume an o-goma is a larger-scale version of the goma fire ceremony that “symbolically burns away passionate delusions” (Miyake 1993, p. 42), a ceremony central to both Shingon Buddhist and Shugendo traditions. ↩
- See Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 35 for a discussion regarding the significance of Oyasama’s red garments/clothes. ↩
- “Raised room which had the dais” is a gloss of jodan no ma 上段の間. It refers to a room in the structure known as the Place for the Service. It has also been glossed as “raised floor.” Not to be confused with a room with the same name (in Japanese) was also built in Oyasama’s Resting House (completed in 1883). This room in the Resting House is referred in English as the “raised room” (The Life of Oyasama) or “raised chamber” (Anecdotes). ↩