Gongyo (Otani School of the Jodo Shishu Sect) (勤行 (真宗大谷派))

In the case of the Shinshu Otaniha (Otani school of the Jodo Shishu sect), Gongyo (devotional exercises) is to do gassho (putting the palms of hands together), raihai (adoration), shomyo nenbutsu (invocation of the Buddha's name), and to do dokuju (hailing) of gemon (recitation of verses) in front of an 'onaibutsu' (another name for butsudan (a Buddhist altar)) or portable 'mitsuori honzon' (mitsuori - can be folded into thirds, honzon - principal object of worship). It is also called 'otsutome' (religious service).

In the Otani school of the Jodo Shishu sect, it means a hoon hosha (repay a kindness and thank for a virtue) and a buttokusantan (praise the virtues of Buddha) to butsuon (the graces of Buddha) and shion (favors one receive from one's teacher).

According to the doctrine of this school, the believers should do gongyo not to accumulate virtues and not for spirits of the ancestors.

Cautions and manners

The cautions described below are based on the manners one should obey in a temple. According to the doctrine, manners are not important, but the religious piety guided by the Nyorai (Tathagata) is most important. Gongyo should be done absolutely for hoon hosha and buttokusantan, not for religious training.

The subject of raihai
The subject of raihai is the honzon only.

In the case of lay believers, a kakejiku (hanging scroll) of the figure of Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) or a mitsuori honzon provided by the head temple is used.

The believers should do gongyo not toward an ihai (ancestral tablets), a homyo jiku (priest's name or posthumous Buddhist name)hanging scroll, nor a kakocho (family register of deaths).

The manner of gassho raihai
After bowing, do gassho raihai and shomyo nenbutsu while looking up the honzon.

It is acceptable to lower your gaze in the middle of a raihai. But, it is required to be looking up at the honzon when doing the shomyo nenbutsu at the beginning and the end of a raihai.

Using a nenju (rosary) is mandatory for the gassho raihai.

Do gassho by putting the left hand through the ring of the juzu (another name of nenju) and then raise it to the front of the pit of the stomach and put the right hand through the ring. The angle of the hands in the form of gassho should be kept at about 45 degrees.

About shomyo nenbutsu
Shomyo nenbutsu is to chant "namuamidabutsu" ("nanmandabutsu" or "nanmandabu") out loud.

The loudness of the voice should be just audible to oneself. A loud voice is not needed.

Another chant "namomidabutsu" is that of the Honganji school of the Jodo Shishu sect.

About the rin
The rin (bell) is not struck before a gassho raihai.

The rin should be struck only at the specified points marked by black dots on the gongyobon (collection of gongyo text) or the shomyoshu (collection of invocation). The points to strike the rin are called "tsubo."

The way of gongyo
Gongyo is performed by reading texts such as the gongyoshu (collection of gongyo text). Do not recite even if it has been memorized.

The gongyo should be performed by a whole family as much as possible.

About seiza
The gongyo should be performed in seiza (sitting straight) if possible.

Those with knee pain can use a chair.

Instructions for performing a gongyo with more than one person

At the gassho raihai, members shall release their hands from gassho when the choshonin (a leader who reads out the first part of sutra sentences) strikes the rin first.

Only the choshonin reads the chosho (a leading part of sutra sentences) parts, which is marked with circles in the gongyoshu. The other parts not marked with circles are read by all the members. In case of reading the 'Shoshin nenbutsuge' (Shoshinge) (verses written by Shinran) with soshikumesage (a way of reading sentences), the parts 'kimyomuryojunyorai' and 'zendodokumyobusshoi' are read by the choshonin only.

In the case of reading the "Ofumi" (Rennyo Shonin's letters for propagation), only the choshonin reads it. The choshonin should turn back and face to the attendances when reading it. All the attendees except the choshonin should listen with their heads bowed.

In the case that a daily gongyo is not possible

Try to do gassho raihai and shomyo nenbutsu regularly even if a gongyo is impossible for reasons such as lack of time. At this time, the bell is not struck.

Do not do a gongyo when it is hard to do it for reasons such as illness. According to the doctrine, there is no proposition that one who does not do gongyo regularly shall be punished.

Items required for a gongyo

A juzu for the Jodo Shishu sect.

A gongyoshu (such as "Gongyoshu of the Shinshu Otaniha," "Extended Gongyoshu of the Shinshu Otaniha") or a shomyoshu (such as "Otani shomyoshu volume 1")

Ryaku kataginu (Buddhist stall wear around the neck)

This is the formal dress when in front of the Buddha, therefore it is desirable to have one. It is also used in front of the onaibutsu at home.

Preparation for a gongyo

Wash hands and face and adjust clothes.

Make a bow towards the honzon.

In the morning, change the water in the kahin or kebyo (both mean flower vase).

Clean the interior of the butsudan if necessary.

Hold a nenju in the left hand and if possible, wear a ryaku kataginu around the neck.

Light the rinto (Buddhist hanging lanterns). Turn on the electric lamp if used.

Light the kintoro (lantern) if the inside of onaibutsu is dark.

Nenko (burning senko (sticks of incense))
Break the senko into an appropriate length, light them, and lay them in the dogoro (incense burner).

On rissoku (light a candle and stand it)
In the regular gongyo, it is enough to light the rinto only. But, if the inside of the butsudan is dark, remove the mokuro (Japanese tallow) from the tsurukameshokudai (candle stand) and light a Japanese candle instead. Do not put the removed mokuro on the front table of the butsudan, but place it outside of the butsudan.

In the case that the butsudan is small, as it may be a fire hazard to do rissoku in it, rissoku on a candle stand placed outside of the butsudan is recommended.

Procedure of gongyo and Shogon (to decorate Buddha statues and temples)

Example of gongyo performed at the home of lay believer is described below. Details may be different depending on localities.

It is best to learn how to do gongyo from the chief priest of the temple you belong to (called "Otetsugidera"). If you are not associated with any temple, consult the list of branch temples of the regional parish of the Shinshu Otaniha.

To study the shomyo by oneself, it is recommended to refer to the CD and cassette tape published by the head temple (Shinshu Otaniha office press) or to the CD attached to the commercially available practical guides.

The gongyo procedure in common

Preparation for a gongyo
Please refer to the article about "Preparation for a gongyo" above.

Bow at the beginning
After looking up at the honzon, bow.

Shoko (incense offering)
In the regular gongyo, shoko is not done.

Please refer to the article "Annual events" for shoko in case of annual events.

Gassho raihai and shomyo nenbutsu
There is no rule for the number of times of nenbutsu, and the number is not considered as important. As a rough indication, the length may be for one to one and half of breath.

Take the bachi (beater, also called "rin bo"(stick for the bell)) out of the bell. If a kakurindai (square pedestal for the rin) and a kumowa (retainer of the rin) are used, bachi should be placed at the right side of the kumowa.

Do gassho raihai again.

When chanting 'Sankiemon' (three faith statements), keep the position of gassho. After the end of speaking, do shomyo nenbutsu while keeping the position of gassho.

When two or more persons are performing, all attendees except the one who strikes the bell should keep the position of gassho until the first bell is struck.

Chodai (to hold an object reverently over one's head)
Do chodai of gongyoshu or shomyoshu.

Gongyo
The procedure of gongyo for regular gongyo and for annual events are different.

For details, please refer to article of "The procedure of regular gongyo" and each event of "The annual events" below.

When the gongyo has finished, do chodai of gongyoshu again.

Gassho raihai and shomyo nenbutsu
Put the bachi into the bell.

Read the "Ofumi." It is read by means of mawariguchi (to read part by part daily).

Please refer to the section of reading "Ofumi" for detail.

When reading has finished, do gassho raihai and shomyo nenbutsu

If a candle was lit on the tsurukameshokudai, return the mokuro.

Buku (things, especially rice, served for the family Buddhist altar)
At the regular gongyo, heap bukki (food offering bowl for the home altar) with buku using mosso (frame to heap buku) and serve when the gongyo has finished.

Except for annual events, buku is not served before a gongyo begins.

The buku should be taken away before noon.

Regular gongyo

Shogon
Uchishiki (cloth put under Buddhist tools used for Buddhist ceremony) and yoraku (hanging ornament used for Buddhist ceremony) are not used in regular gongyo. Kesoku (small rice cakes heaped on a kuge (offering stand)) is not served. Originally, a kintoro is also not used.

The gongyo procedure for regular cases

Please refer to the article "The gongyo procedure in common" for common details.

The gongyo procedure for morning gongyo
Shoshinge' with soshikumesage. The gongyoshu should be held with both hands in front of the breast. It may be placed on a kyojoku (sutra table) if available.

Nenbutsu wasan (a Buddhist hymn of reciting sutra) with sanshubiki or rokushubiki, mitsuyuri (a style of reciting sutra). It can be read as mawariguchi, or by repeating the first six waka (from 'midajobutsuno...').

Eko (Buddhist memorial service, prayers for the repose of the soul) (mitsuyuri)
gannishikudoku'
The gongyo can be in the style of 'dohohosanshiki' (a Buddhist gathering to recite sutra with a small group of members in simple style).

The gongyo procedure for evening gongyo
Shoshinge' with soshikumesage or 'tanbutsuge.'

Namaida (short form of "namuamidabutsu")
Eko
gannishikudoku'
"Ofumi"
This can be skipped if it was done in the morning gongyo.

Buku is not necessary if it was served at the morning gongyo.

The evening gongyo can be in the style of dohohosanshiki as in the morning gongyo.

Annual events.

Please refer to the article "The gongyo procedure in common" for common details.

Shusho-e (New Year's Service)

Period
From January 1 to 3.

Shogon
The shogon for the Shusho-e is done before the Saimatsukonshi (gongyo held at the evening of December 31).

After the morning gongyo on January 4, shogon is returned to the regular gongyo by taking away the kagami-mochi (a round rice-cake offered to a deity) and removing the Uchishiki.

The gongyo procedure for Shusho-e
Rissoku
Red colored Japanese candle is lit on the tsurukameshokudai.

In the morning gongyo, do nenko in the dogoro and then do shoko in the kashagoro or the kanagoro (both are incense burners).

In the evening gongyo, only nenko is done in the dogoro and shoko is not done.

The gongyo procedure for morning gongyo
Shoshinge' with soshikumesage
Nenbutsu wasan
On the first day of the year, it is read with rokushubiki including the waka beginning with "midajobutsunokonokatawa..." It is read with mawariguchi from the second day.

Eko with 'gannishikudoku'
"Ofumi"
The first letter of the first collection: 'aruhitoiwaku...' or the first letter of the fifth collection: 'matsudaimuchi...'
The gongyo procedure for evening gongyo
Shoshinge' with soshikumesage
Namaida or Nenbutsu wasan rokushubiki or sanshubiki by mawariguchi.

Eko with 'gannishikudoku'
"Ofumi" is not read.

The gongyo procedure for January 4
Same as the regular gongyo.

Shunki-Higan-e and Shuki-Higan-e (Spring and Autumn Higan-e ceremony)

Period
One week centering around the Spring Equinox or Autumn Equinox (3 days before and after).

Shogon
After the evening gongyo from the day before, clean up, put the uchishiki over the table, and serve the kesoku. Change the bukka (flowers for the Buddha).

The gongyo procedure for Higan-e
On the first day, do nenko in the dogoro and then do shoko in the kashagoro or the kanagoro.

The gongyo procedure except for the above are the same as regular gongyo.

Urabon-e festival (Festival of the Dead or Buddhist All Souls' Day)

Period
In July or August, depending on local customs.

Shogon
The gongyo procedure for the Urabon-e
In the evening gongyo of the 13th day, only nenko is done and shoko is not done.

In the gongyo of the morning and evening of the 14th and 15th, and also for the morning of the 16th, do nenko in the dogoro and then do shoko in the kashagoro or the kanagoro.

The gongyo procedure for the evening of 13th. Same as the regular gongyo for evening.

The gongyo procedure for the morning of the 14th and 15th
Shoshinge' with soshikumesage
Nenbutsu wasan with rokushubiki, mitsuyuri. Mawariguchi.

Eko
gannishikudoku'
"Ofumi"
Mawariguchi.

The gongyo procedure for the evening of the 14th and 15th
"Syoshinge" with chudoku (a way of reading). Nenbutsu wasan with sanshubiki, mitsuyuri. Mawariguchi.

Eko
sesongaissin'
"Ofumi"
Mawariguchi.

The gongyo procedure for the morning of 16th. Same as the regular gongyo.

Hoonko (memorial services for the founder of the Buddhist sect)

Period
Gongyo is done as the preliminary event of the gonshu (holding a Buddhist ceremony) of Hoonko at the head temple from November 21 to November 28.

Schedule should be decided taking in consideration of the schedule of the Hoonko of the temple you belong to.

Shogon
The gongyo procedure for the Hoonko at the lay believers home

Saimatsukonshi

Period
The evening of December 31.
Shogon
After the morning gongyo of December 31, clean up, put the uchishiki over the table, and serve the kagami-mochi putting on the paper spread over the oshiki (tray with folded edges).

Change the shikimi (Japanese star anise) and bukka.

Kesoku is not served.

The gongyo procedure of Saimatsukonshi
Shoshinge' with chudoku.
Nenbutsu wasan
by rokushubiki mitsuyuri including the waka beginning with 'namuamidabutsunoekono.'
Eko
gannishikudoku'
"Ofumi" is not read.

Annual memorial service

Shogon
The gongyo procedure for the annual memorial service

Shotsukimeinichi (death day of the same month)

Shogon
The gongyo procedure for Shotsukimeinichi.

Reading the "Ofumi"

Manners
Take the "Ofumi" out of the Ofumi-bako (box for the Ofumi) then do chodai.

In case there isn't a copy of the "Ofumi" the Ofumi printed in the gongyobon will be read, do chodai of the gongyobon.

Read the "Ofumi."

Do not place the "Ofumi" on the kyojoku, it should be held with both hands while reading.

After reading, do chodai of the "Ofumi."

For regular gongyo, if the "Ofumi" could not be read at the morning gongyo, it may be read at the evening gongyo.

The okugaki (postscript) (date, waka, text, place) placed next to the body text shall not be read.

Mawariguchi. Mawariguchi is, in the case of the "Ofumi," to read all from the first collection to the fifth collection, part by part.

It is possible to read the fifth collection only from the first letter by mawariguchi.

For reference (the following are the manners for the temple)

When reading all five collections by mawariguchi, the letter 'ryoudogomeinichiofumi' should be read on the specified day based on its content.

For the same reason, the letter group 'Hoonko Ofumi' and the letter 'Osarae Ofumi' are not read in regular gongyo.

This does not apply when the fifth collection only is read.

Ryoudogomeinichiofumi (The anniversary of the death of Kocho OTANI (the day 13th), anniversary of the death of the Founder Shinran Shonin (the day 28th).
The first letter of the fifth collection 'matsudaimuchi'
Should be read in the evening gongyo on the 12th of every month.

The twelfth letter of the fourth collection 'maigatsuryodo'
Should be read in the morning gongyo on the 13th of every month.

The tenth letter of the fifth collection 'shoninichiryu'
Should be read in the evening gongyo on the 27th of every month.

The ninth letter of the third collection 'ranshonin' ('gomeinichi')
Should be read in the morning gongyo on the 28th of every month.

Hoonko Ofumi
The eleventh letter of the third collection 'mainenfuketsu'
The fifth letter of the fourth collection 'chukoirai'
The sixth letter of the fourth collection 'sangajo'
The seventh letter of the fourth collection 'rokkajo'
The eighth letter of the fourth collection 'hachikajo'
The fifteenth letter of the fourth collection 'oozakakonryu'
The eleventh letter of the fifth collection 'goshoki'
The "Ofumi" which should be read at the Hoonko at the lay believers home.

Osarae Ofum
The first letter of the second collection 'osarae'
Should be read in the morning gongyo on the next day of the Hoonko.