Asa-Sankei—Everyday Morning Visit to a HBS Temple

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People who are on duty for parking enforcement at Asa-sankei rake the snow off the precincts of the head temple, Yuseiji.
People who are on duty for parking enforcement at Asa-sankei rake the snow off the precincts of the head temple, Yuseiji.

As one of characteristics of HBS which is quite different from other Buddhist sects, there is a fundamental practice called Asa-sankei. Asa literally means “morning” and sankei is “visiting a temple.” Usually, the Buddhist service held every morning is called Asa-sankei. Lots of HBS followers visit a temple rain or shine every early morning and hold an Asa-sankei Buddhist service with priests. In the morning Buddhist service, HBS priests and members together chant the Odaimoku enthusiastically praying for propagation of HBS, our happiness and eko (offering the merit of the Odaimoku to the souls of the dead) for about one and a half hour. We can also listen to a sermon called Gohomon that HBS priests give every day in Asa-sankei.

According to the Buddha’s teachings, to devote one’s body (labors), life (time) and property (money) to propagating the Odaimokudeserves receiving much Kudoku because a spirit of devotion runs counter human greed. Our life can be converted into time because life is the accumulation of time throughout past, present and future. As the proverb says, “Time is money,” devoting one’s time is equal to offering a part of his or her life to the Buddha and is worth receiving much Kudoku. Therefore, Asa-sankei is a practice to offer his or her first time of every moring to the Buddha. It is one of hard practices because we are forced to get up early even in cold winter morning. However, the efforts will never fail to be paid off and we will be able to have a peaceful day thanks to the Kudoku.

Everything taken place at a HBS temple is a practice for a believer. Chanting the Odaimoku, listening to Gohomon, donating Goyushi (the contribution of money to keep flowers fresh decorated in the altar, oil for lightened lamps and so on as a religious offering), and sweeping and wiping the floor of Hondo (main practice hall) are all practices to accumulate Kudoku. Since believers who will gradly to devote themselves to Asa-sankei usually recieve various Goriyaku (manifest evidences) due to the Kudoku, they learn how important and wonderful Asa-sankei is from the bottom of their heart and again work hard at their Asa-sankei.

Some people say that there is no need to visit a temple because we can accumulate Kudoku by chanting the Odaimoku in front of our Buddhist family altar in our home. However, home is usually a space that is tainted by Bonnno (earthly desires) because it is made up of the environment that we, ordinary mortal, enjoy what we want to do in order to fulfill our desires. Home is basically not a place that is suitable for Buddhist practices even if a Gokaidan (HBS family altar) is installed and the Gohonzon is enshrined in a single room. This means that the amount of the merits that we accumulate is quite different on practicing at temple and home. We can tread the path of Kudoku by prioritizing Buddhist practices and maintaining the condition of being delivered from worldly desires as much as we can. That is why Asa-sankei that will need us to dedicate our body, time and money is an important practice to improve our faith.

 

Follow Ryosetsu Ikemoto:

Buddhist Priest of Honmon Butsuryū Shū (HBS), belongs to Kosenji temple in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Pref., Japan. Secretary to the 25th HBS head priest.

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