2008年4月10日木曜日

Dharma: Bringers of Good Luck

http://www.rakuten.co.jp/yaocyu/330467/124872/118751/

Japanese people often have engimono( 縁起物), which can be translated “bringers of good luck”. When they go to shrines or temples, they often buy some charms ( omamori: お守り) depending on what kind of good luck they need. On New Year’s Day, they often put pine displays in front of entrances to pray for good luck of the year. Although there are many other bringers of good luck in Japan, today I’d like to talk about dharma (daruma: だるま) as one of bringers of good luck. Dharma is an ornament imitating the appearance of Daruma( 達磨), a patriarch of Zen Buddhism. The shape of dharma represtnts the figure of 達磨 practicing meditation in Zen Buddhism.


There is a custom to paint dharma’s right eye when people have something to wish for, and then paint left eye when people’s wishes come true. The most common case is that people paint right eye at the beginning of a year for their well-being of their family or good health, and they paint left eye at the end of the year if they could spend the whole year peacefully.
http://www.kawara-ban.com/news.html
I often see this custom in TV programs reporting elections. When people decide to run for some posts such as representatives, governors or mayors, they put right eye into dharma with black ink, and when they are elected as those posts, they put left eye. The above picture is the man who is elected as a mayor and raising his left hand after he finished painting dharma’s eye. You will see a brush( 筆: fude) in his right hand.
The custom of putting eyes last comes from the ritual of kaigen( 開眼). It is often performed when the statues of Buddha are newly constructed. The most famous ritual of kaigen is so-called Daibutsu kaigen kuyo( 大仏開眼供養) that was performed when the statue of Buddha of Todaiji(東大寺) in Nara was constructed. This ritual comes at the end of construction and it means allowing statues to have soul by putting eyes last.

Dharma is considered to be a symbol of 七転八起, Japanese idiom which literally means “fall seven times, get up eight times”. It generally means that “to continue to try something, no matter how often he fails it”. dharma is considered to have this positive meaning because of its thick, stumpy shape which is easy to stand up soon after it is thrown down.

Although Japanese people often say they have no religion, they in fact believe in religious things like dharma. Quite a few Japanese people are relying on such religious things to pray for their good luck. However, they are not aware that those so-called engimono are related to the religions concerned.

4 件のコメント:

visual gonthros さんのコメント...

Interesting topic. I think there is a special yellow colored Daruma doll for the Hanshin Tigers...

I'd like to read more about the Japanese and their various good luck charms. They buy them at temples and shrines, right? So why isn't considered to be religious?

Yoshie Fuami さんのコメント...

I'll write a comment to you for the first time.

I dindn't know that there is a Hanshin Tigers Daruma.So, I looked for it on the Internet, and I found this site where photos of yellow daruma is shown.

https://www.next-net.co.jp/ssl/daruma/hanshin_daruma.php

Yes. Japanese people buy good luck charms at temples and shrines, but they buy charms for some specific wish such as a success in exam, easy birth, or safty of family. They are strongly thinking about their own wish rather than about religion.

DickMcVengeance さんのコメント...

What happens if a person doesn't have a peaceful year, or loses an election? Do they just end up having a dharma with only one eye painted?

匿名 さんのコメント...

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