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Our Goma

Fu Do Shin We began performing the Goma in October of 2007 in an outdoor yamabushi style setting inspired by Rev. Tanaka, who as a young boy, participated in the monthly rite that his grandfather would perform. The outdoor setting allows us to experience the magic of the changing of seasons…the ebb and flow of Great Nature.

Goma is a Chinese pronunciation of the Hindu term Homa which originated in India about 5000 years ago with earlier Zoroastrian routes and refers to offerings made to deities through the fire. Our Goma consists of 5 sections with offerings of grains, rice, flowers, incense, and oil made to many different deities. Of central importance to the Goma is Agni, The Hindu god of fire.

There are several forms of the Goma all performed for different purposes. Our monthly Goma is focused on cutting away both physical and spiritual obstacles and manifesting wishes, .

Fu Do ShinThe Goma begins with preparatory practices to purify and protect the area and the practitioner. After special prayers are said, the altar is prepared for the fire ritual. The hearth is purified and the wood is placed. After the fire is ignited, the deities are requested to enter the fire, the fire is purified, offerings and thanksgiving are made, and the deities are invited to return to their realm. Finally, the protections are removed and the merit generated is dedicated to the benefit of all sentient beings.

The physical fire of the Goma burns offerings made to the deities embodied in the fire. The offerings are transferred from physical form to the deities through special offering mudras and mantras.

The symbolic naika or inner fire burns away obstacles to enlightenment and negative karma, allowing us to purify our karma, transform negative emotions and energies, and sow the seeds of light, compassion, and wisdom.

The wood that is offered in the sacred fire, known as Gomaki or literally “energy for the Goma,” is inscribed with the wishes and desires of others. Through the mystical weaving of offerings and mantra, through the physical energy of the fire, and through the assistance of the deities, the wishes are manifested.

Before each Goma we offer a traditional Shinto purification prayer. (For more information about Shinto, the indigenous spirituality of Japan, please click here)

Preparation for each Goma requires several days as we cut all of the wood ourselves. We do our best to conduct the ritual in as traditional and pure a fashion as possible and constantly ask for divine assistance and inspiration for both our practice and in sharing the light with others.

Fu Do ShinThe chief deity, Fudo Myo-o , is depicted in this sculpture done for us by Mr. Adam Bradley of Madera Sculptures.

The Honzon Chief Deity

OFudosama as he is known in Japanese (Acala Vidyaraja in Sanskrit) is depicted holding a sword and rope loop. With the rope, he binds the three Buddhist poisons that cause suffering - greed, hatred, and ignorance. The sword cuts through to the heart of enlightened truth. He sits on a rock and is surrounded by flame representing his immovability. Ofudosama is a wrathful aspect of Dainichi Nyorai - the highest deity in Shingon. (what we would call "God," "The Creator," or "Spirit" in the West.) He is wrathful in the sense that he wards off negative influences and cuts away obstacles that prevent us from perceiving truth, realizing enlightenment, and accomplishing our desires. Truth is not always easy to see or accept, but if we open our hearts to OFudosama, we can be blessed with great wisdom. In Japan, he is a protector of many warrior traditions and is the main deity to whom the Goma is offered.