Gomagi is the short, wooden sticks used in the Buddhist rite practice. Buddhist fire rituals (known as goma-taki originally from the Sanskrit term homa) generally involve burning wooden sticks.
I experienced Homa burning, the Buddhist rite of burning wooden sticks for the first time. It was so spiritual and exotic.
I visited the Mudouji temple (which means “to not move”) at Bungo-Takada, Kunisaki Peninsula, Oita, which is located in the southern part of Japan. In mid-October at 4 pm, our car drove through the slightly coloured trees and the mountains and we finally arrived at the Mudouji temple.
When we arrived at the temple, the priest had just finished preparing for the Homa burning ceremony. We opened the long, dried, shrunk wood and the old fashioned, handmade glass door. When I opened the door, I smelled the citrus based incense.
I felt sweat dripping down my body. This experience is very different from my culture.
For your information:
Name of temple : Mudouji-temple
Address : Oaza-Kuroto 1475, Bungotakada-shi, Oita, Japan 872-1107
You must take off your shoes to enter the holy temple. Bring your thick and warm socks. You will be requested to sit on the floor in a Japanese style, sitting straight with your legs folded under you for about 30 minutes. If this is uncomfortable, try to ask the monk if you could sit in a different position.
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Photograph and text by meguru hayata