The fire is the embodiment of Fudo Myo-oh’s compassion.
Prayers and wishes are written on these wooden sticks (Goma-gi).
The goodness, blessings and protection of the Buddha cannot be seen in our own lives unless we make the effort to accept the Buddha’s help and follow his teachings of love and compassion.
I would like to explain about the Goma Fire Ceremony for those who are not familiar with this ritual. In a Goma ceremony, we set up a special area to set a fire to burn wooden sticks in front of the Buddha. The fire symbolizes the wisdom of the Buddha and the wood sticks symbolize human desires (the root of suffering). In this ritual, the Buddha burns away the root of our suffering as we pray for our wishes to come true. At Seattle Koyasan, we pray to the Fudo MyouOh, (who is the Buddha of Compassionate Fire). We will talk more about Fudo Myouoh some another time. Mikkyo prayers and wishes do not come true only by asking the Buddha. We must also accept the help and protection that the Buddha is constantly giving to us. Imagine the Buddha as the brilliant shining full moon and we humans are as the surface of water on a lake. If there are waves in the water, the reflection of the moon cannot be clearly seen on the water surface. The goodness, blessings and protection of the Buddha cannot be seen in our own lives unless we make the effort to accept the Buddha’s help and follow his teachings of love and compassion. In order to give our effort to accept this power, we do Gassho, chant Buddha’s mantras, and visualize the Buddha in our mind.