Saturday, February 6, 2010

Very Serious Buddhist Bells and Smells ...

... with drums and fire.

Japanese Buddhist High Church, a "Fire Ceremony"

My knowledge of Buddhism is very superficial, and I have no idea about the significance of this ceremony. I'm guessing that this is one of those forms of Esoteric Buddhism that began in northern India and found their way into Japan by way of Tibet, China, and Korea centuries ago. I presume that they are chanting a Sutra or Buddhist scripture.
It appears to be some kind of healing ritual, or at least healing might be part of the ritual.
Whatever it is, it's very dramatic to watch.

This is an encore presentation from last year. I hope my longtime audience will be patient.

Womb Mandala, Heian Japan, 9th century

Womb Mandala, detail

Golden Hall of the Jingo-ji Temple of the Shingon sect of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, Kyoto, founded in 824.

And lest we think that getting bored and impatient with church is exclusively Western, here is one of four 12th century scrolls together known as Choju Giga (Frolicking Animals). Here, monkeys, rabbits, and foxes perform a Buddhist ceremony. A monkey chants a sutra before a frog Buddha while another monkey in the upper right dozes over his rosary.


Rick+ said...

     Fascinating. Don't know what they're doing, but very cool liturgy! When I visited Japan many years ago and toured a temple in Tokyo, I was told that Buddhist and Shinto shrines are often on the same grounds. The Shinto religion is more one of celebration whereas the Buddhist temple is used for serious stuff like weddings and funerals.

Unknown said...

Buddhist practices have always fascinated me. (I am finally taking classes on it now)

June Butler said...

This member of your long-time audience was patient enough to take note of your encore several days ago, when I didn't have time to look and read, and resolve to return and have another look. And here I am finally. I enjoyed your presentation the first time and again. The fire ceremony is noteworthy, indeed, and worth seeing twice.