Homa fire offerings are the most important ritual of Shugendo, a Japanese tradition of mountain asceticism that synthesized ancient animism and mountain worship through the syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism. Homa fire offerings originated in tantric Buddhism and in Shugendo they have a history of 1300 years.
In the homa ritual, the mind and body of the Shugendo practitioner becomes one with the Immovable Wisdom King, an avatar of the Primordial Buddha, Mahavairocana, who is a personification of the ultimate reality of the universe. The Shugendo practitioner then burns wood representing the karmic obstructions of suffering and delusion within the purifying flames of the Primordial Buddha’s radiant wisdom.
You can experience tantric homa for yourself at the Sasayuri-ann, where owner and Shugendo monk Tetsuji Matsubayashi performs homa rites at a shrine adjacent to the Rice Terrace Villa.