The Exciting and Mysterious Gomagyo Experience: How to Burn Away Worldly Desires

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What is Gomagyo?

Gomagyo is a Mikkyo practice of prayer aiming to make wishes come true in this world. (Mikkyo is directly translated as “ Secret Buddhism;” Singon, Tendai, Syuken are the three main Japanese Mikkyo.)
Goma was started in B.C. 2000 in India, and came to Japan during Heian Era. The name Goma is originally from Homa in ancient Indian Sanskrit which means to “Burn”. Although Gomagyo is basically a temple practice of Mikkyo, some shrines with strong influence of Syncretization of Shinto with Buddhism that was common before Meiji Era practice it too. Generally, events called “Ohitaki” (making fire/burn) or “Himatsuri” (fire festival) can be considered to be Gomagyo.

Goma was started in B.C. 2000 in India, and came to Japan during Heian Era. The name Goma is originally from Homa in ancient Indian Sanskrit which means to “Burn”. Although Gomagyo is basically a temple practice of Mikkyo, some shrines with strong influence of Syncretization of Shinto with Buddhism that was common before Meiji Era practice it too. Generally, events called “Ohitaki” (making fire/burn) or “Himatsuri” (fire festival) can be considered to be Gomagyo.

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Gomagyo Practice

Gomagyo is practiced by putting yidam on an altar, setting fire in the hearth, burning Goma-wood, binding a seal with your hand, and reciting Singon (Words of Buddha). After that, they put supplications into the fire and hold a service, praying with all their might. This practice, which actually burns fire, is called Gegoma, and the other practice which burns worldly desires in the mind notionally by Buddha’s ”Fire of Wisdom” is called Uchigoma and is also considered Gomagyo. Principal objects of worship and practices differ according to denominations and the purpose of prayer. The purposes of the prayer can be divided into these four.

Trying to achieve a wish in Gomagyo

The purposes of the prayer can be divided into these four.

Sokusai-ho: Prayer asking for prevention of natural disasters and personal misfortunes.
Zokueki-ho: Prayer asking for blessings and happiness.
Keiai-ho: Prayer asking for good relationships.
Kohuku-ho (Chohuku-ho): Prayer which drives away demons and enemies.

Each prayer aims at achieving wishes by Goma’s strong power of prayer. Amongst various prayer styles of Mikkyo, it is often practiced at many temples and Shukubos. You can experience the differences when you participate in the morning services.

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