The fire ceremony or "goma" is a key ritual of esoteric Buddhism, Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism) and other religions too. The Japanese name derives from the Sanskrit. In China and Korea, the name is closer to the original Sanskrit "goma".
In Japan, the main esoteric Buddhist sects are Tendai and Shingon. Both sects are experts in "goma", which date back to their founding in Japan, more than 1200 years ago.
Acala (as Fudo Myoo) is one of the especially important and well-known divinities in Japanese Buddhism, being especially venerated in the Shingon, Tendai, Zen, and Nichiren sects, as well as in Shugendo.
The corolla of Fudo Myoo is of leaping flames, and it is always he who presides over goma in Koyasan.
Fudo Myoo (Acala)
by Shiko Munakata (1903-1975)
In Koyasan, Shojoshin-in Temple, "goma" is performed daily at 1pm. The goma takes place regardless of public holidays etc. There is a building specifically for goma. The gateway to the goma hall is a few meters from the entrance to OKUNOIN. Attendance is free of charge and open to all.
Koyasan Space often attends the goma at Shojoshin-In. Please read everything on this page carefully.
Shojoshin-In official page here.
Most or all temple names on Koyasan finish with "In" which signifies a Buddhist temple.
A. Arrive by 12:30pm. Take breath and prepare the gomaki (optional).
B. Purchase the gomaki (goma sticks) for 1000¥ each.
C. Consider additional gomaki for the wellbeing of parents and relatives.
D. Know the birth-year of the gomaki person and use the table to convert age (ask staff).
E. Goma lasts at least 2 hours. If you do not have time or patience, better not.
F. Dress modestly, keep silence, follow the instructions of the staff.
- Have a clean bag or cloth for the gomaki(s) during the ceremony.
- Do not put the gomaki(s) on the floor.
- When called to do so, kneel and put one gomaki into the fire at a time.
- Take your time, hold the gomaki the right way up, and place into the fire calmly and with positive intention. Do not feel rushed. Proceed calmly.
- Immediately move out of the way and sit where instructed.