Pray to Flames for World Peace and RecoveryGreat Goma Ceremony at Enryakuji Temple, Mt. Hiei, Shiga
In order to pray for world peace and the recovery of afflicted areas after disaster such as the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Kumamoto earthquake and others, a great "Goma" ceremony, or a Buddhist rite of burning small wooden sticks on Mt. Hiei, took place at Enryakuji Temple, the head temple of the Tendai Buddhist Sect in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, on March 13. Approximately 150,000 Gomaki wooden sticks contributed by followers were burned in a huge hearth.
This ritual began in 1990 with the aim of praying for world peace, continuing the spirit of "The Religious Summit Meeting on Mt. Hiei" which was held 30 years ago. A fireplace, approximately 5 meters in diameter, was specially arranged in front of the Saicho statue, which is also known as Dengyo Daishi, in the Saito district of Mt. Hiei. Gomaki wooden sticks were burned by a flame taken from "Fumetsu no Hoto," or the eternal light, which has remained lit for 1,200 years.
The ceremony was held six times on this day. High priests called "Daigyoman Dai Ajari," who completed the challenging "Sennichi-Kaiho-Gyo," or 1,000-day marathon pilgrimage on Mt. Hiei, threw Gomaki wooden sticks into the fireplace one after another. At 11:00 a.m., Kouei Morikawa, the chief abbot of the Tendai Buddhist Sect, prayed silently and then read out a written address to the deities, saying "I pray for human peace and world peace," and so on. Followers crowding around the place chanted sutras with their palms together and offered prayers.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)