Saturday, October 30, 2010


For the ino, any ceremony is not just about what happens but also the setting up and the taking down afterwards. I was very happy with Sejiki; for all that it is a unique ceremony with many complicated elements, yesterday was a relatively stress-free day. There were a lot of people helping, and a festive atmosphere in the building - some of it no doubt due to the Halloween party spirit, with people plotting costumes (I was asked often if I would be dressing up, and I said yes, though I was only ever intending to wear my robes - maybe next year I will put on a wig and a dress, though it is probably evident that I am not really a costume person), some of it perhaps also due to the Giants being 2-0 up (I am also not much of a baseball person, and am fond of saying that most of what I know about baseball I learned by reading Peanuts cartoons as a kid, but the sympathetic joy is quite palpable around here).
We rehearsed the less familiar parts of the ceremony in the morning, and I spent the afternoon setting up the special Sejiki altar - the regular altar is not used so as not to intimidate the hungry ghosts we are summoning and appeasing - and after dinner I dismantled it with help.
The ceremony itself had a nice number of participants; we were not packed tightly into the Buddha Hall as I remember from some years past, but there were enough strong voices to lend some real energy to the dharanis - and energy is the whole point of a dharani, which is an invocation. The orchestral invitation was also nicely done, a harmonious cacophony as it was referred to earlier in the week. As you can see from the photos, there was no shortage of entertaining costumes.

Bare altar, shrouded Buddha
Sejiki altar

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