Miyajima Fire Walking ceremony brings good fortune to worshippers

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A Shingon monk throws sticks with written prayers into a burning pyre during the Miyajima Fire Walking ceremony, which took place inside the Daisho-in Temple on the Island of Miyajima, April 15, 2013. Onlookers could buy wooden prayer sticks prior to the beginning of the ceremony. The prayers would then be gathered into boxes to be thrown into the blaze. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Benjamin Pryer)
A Shingon monk throws sticks with written prayers into a burning pyre during the Miyajima Fire Walking ceremony, which took place inside the Daisho-in Temple on the Island of Miyajima, April 15, 2013. Onlookers could buy wooden prayer sticks prior to the beginning of the ceremony. The prayers would then be gathered into boxes to be thrown into the blaze. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Benjamin Pryer)

Miyajima Fire Walking ceremony brings good fortune to worshippers

by: Lance Cpl. Benjamin Pryer | .
Iwakuni Approach Staff | .
published: April 27, 2013

The Miyajima Fire Walking, known in Japanese as Hiwatari Shinji, is a bi-annual ceremony practiced by Shingon Monks inside the island’s Daisho-in Temple.

The ceremony invokes the powers of Acala, one of the guardian deities of Vajrayana Buddhism. He wears a vicious scowl and is engulfed in flames. He holds a lariat, a sort of salvation rope in his left hand and a jeweled sword in his right, which he uses to bind and slice through worldly desires. His violent appearance draws confessions. However, he also has a heart of mercy to save people from heavy suffering.

The purple holy fire swarming Acala, which is symbolized in the leading Shingon Monk’s purple robes, is the principal image for world peace, prosperity of Vajrayana, happiness for all and productiveness of grain. Also, walking through the coals of the flame is coupled with praying for clearing of misfortune and welcoming good fortune, along with praising the accomplishments and fulfilling the wishes of worshippers.

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