Goma Fire Ritual

Objectives

The students will learn about the Goma Fire Ritual and learn about impermanence and attachment.

Note: This lesson must be soon (if not immediately) following the Shingon Lesson.

Material

  • Markers, Crayons,
  • Butcher Paper pieces at least 3'x3'
  • Paper Shredder
  • Plastic vials (makeup vials) to place the ashes in
  • If desired, create labels for the vials with the lesson (Goma Fire Ritual), class name and the year& date.
  • Fire extinguisher nearby. Only use if necessary.
  • Candle wax
  • Aluminum baking tray (2x, one to burn in, one to help put out the fire)
  • Lighter or matches

Preparation

Cut the Butcher Paper to form the 3'x3' pieces. If the class is large, then you may need multiple sheets.

Clean out the paper shredder. Test to make sure it works.

Arrange for a place outside to burn the mandalas. I use two large aluminum pans. One to burn in. The other to help suffocate the fire.

Melt the wax and have ready

Get help to put the ash in the vials, labels on the vials

Method

  1. Gassho
  2. Review
    1. Shingon Buddhism = Japanese Vajprayanan Sect
    2. Belief in
      1. Master to Disciple secret transmission
      2. Esoteric, Personal attainment thru practice
      3. Able to gather merit through personal merit
      4. Able to transfer merit
      5. Elaborate Rituals
      6. Visualization of Universal Buddha: Vairocana
  3. Large Group Mandala
    1. Class creates two large mandalas
      1. One is a Womb Sutra Mandala
      2. One is a Diamond Sutra Mandala
    2. Make it as "nice" as possible
    3. Have students sign
  4. Goma Fire Ritual
    1. Create multiple Namo Amida Butsu by hand sheets (at least 10 each)
      1. Cut paper into strips; write Namo Amida Butsu
    2. Nembutsu as we shred the mandalas
    3. Go outside
    4. Gassho
    5. Say “We invoke the spirit of Fudo Myo Oh to destroy evil thoughts and desires and as our Womb and Diamond Mandalas and our sheets of of Nembutsu transform to smoke and spread throughout the world, we wish transference of beneficencial energies to all”
    6. Put wax over the shredded mandalas. Alternatively, you can have the pan with wax spread on the bottom already.
    7. Burn it outside w/ everyone chanting “Namandabu”
    8. Use the Namo Amida Butsu hand sheets to keep the fire going
    9. Afterwards, go back to the classroom and ask what they thought.
    10. After the review have the students take some of the ash home in the vials. If there are labels, put on the inside (or if a sticker, then outside) If there is insufficient time, do this in another day.
    11. Closing Gassho

Evalutation

During the review

Notes

This could be a 2 or 3 day Lesson.

Author

Mas Nishimura, nish221.at.dot.com, San Jose Betsuin, 2018