Published On: Wed, Apr 20th, 2022

The Buddhist Fire Walking Festival of Japan – (火渡りまつり, Hiwatari Matsuri)

The Fire Walking Festival of Japan (Hiwatari Matsuri) is held every year on the second Sunday of March by Buddhist monks in Tanukidani-san Fudō-in at Mt Takao in Tokyo, Japan. Tanukidani-san Fudō-in is a temple that eschews the more traditional Buddhist sect system in favor of the ascetic nature worship of Shugendō. A practice that combines various Buddhist, Shinto, and Taoist sciences, Shugendō can be translated as “the way to spiritual power through discipline”.

Buddhism is just another form of Hinduism. In the Vaishnavite sect of Hinduism, the historic buddha or Gautama Buddha is the ninth avatar among the ten major avatars of the god Vishnu. In contemporary Hinduism the Buddha is revered by Hindus who usually consider Buddhism to be just another form of Hinduism.

Buddhism arrived in Japan by first making its way to China and Korea through the Silk Road and then traveling by sea to the Japanese archipelago. Buddhism first came to China in the first century CE during the Han dynasty, through monks from India. Pls, see below for a detailed map of how Buddhism, just another form of Hinduism, traveled from India into East Asia and eventually onto Japan.

One of the rituals associated both with Shugendō and Fudō Myō’ō worship is the HiwatariMatsuri or Fire Walking Festival. The festival is held on the second Sunday of March each year. In this ceremony, Goma (wooden prayer sticks) are assembled into a pyre to be ritualistically burned, and the still flaming ashes and remnants are then raked flat. They then spread the ambers and prepare two strips through which they walk barefoot and chanting.

The event starts at 1 pm with a procession of chanting monks walking into the main event arena (held in a car park just off the main road). This is followed by rituals and performances by the monks such as fending off evil spirits with various weaponry, flaying their bodies with branches dipped in boiling water.

Shugenja (Shugendō followers) lead the way by walking barefoot across the hot ground before helping the public do the same. This fascinating ritual is not only interesting for its religious components but also helps in healing the body by raising immunity levels.

The Supreme Pontiff of Hinduism Bhagavan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam has also on multiple occasions through his satsangs spoken about the health benefits of Fire Walking to awaken complete immunity in the body and to allow super-conscious mutation to happen.

(Ref: Satsangs Dated 03 Mar 2018, 04 Mar 2020, 13 Mar 2020 and many more,

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