2010 / New Year’s Day: Esoteric Buddhists to offer the first fire, Jan 1

Koyasan First Fire

To cleanse the bad thoughts and actions of people, Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo will offer the first fire on January 1 at 10:00 am. (Cultural News Photo)

The first day of the year is considered one of the most important days in many Asian countries. Visiting a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine to offer a prayer on New Year’s Day is called Hatsu-Mode (first offering) in Japanese.

In the Esoteric tradition of Buddhism, Goma (fire ritual) is an important rite to cleanse the bad thoughts and actions of people. It would be a worthwhile experience to observe the Hatsu-Goma (first fire ritual) at the Koyasan Buddhist Temple in the Little Tokyo district of Downtown Los Angeles as a New Year’s Day ritual of traditional life.

Bishop Seicho Asahi of the Koyasan Temple will officiate the Hatsu-Goma at 10 a.m. on New Year’s Day (Saturday, January 1) by chanting mantras and throwing tiny sticks into a fire.

From January 1 to 3, the Koyasan Temple will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. for Hatsu-mode. Omikuji (fortune telling slips), Hama-ya (good luck arrows), Oma-mori (amulets), Ema (picture tablets) and consecrated Ofuda (charms) will be available during the hours of the service.

Koyasan Buddhist Temple is located at 342 E. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 624-1267, www.koyasanbetsuin.org.