Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Shuilu rite at Longhua Temple

As promised, more photos from Longhua's 水陆法会 (short, we learned, for 法界圣凡水陆普度大斋胜会), in the order in which I came to them.

The great drum - no longer used - inside one of the entrance towers.
Monks chant to Amida as some lay people prostrate themselves and volunteers, in orange vests, keep an eye on things.
Turns out the monks were surrounded by a vast crowd of mostly very old ladies chanting with them.
Two scenes from the upper room where the most important chanting apparently happens; offerings to a bodhisattva particularly good with yin and yang, and the setting for one of the chant leaders. Gilt incense holder is from Australia. Hand mirror confirms hat is on straight.
The dim hall with ordinary practitioners fashion paper offerings.

A volunteer inscribes an offering for some lay people.
Where the offerings are taken to be burnt.
Slides in the volunteers' room show Longhua volunteers helping out at a nearby temple; the monk in charge demonstrates cooking tricks.
Some larger offerings on their way to completion.
The evening ritual 放焰口 fangyankou; five rows of black-clad lay devotés amplify the efforts of the monks with frequent prostrations.
Everyone crowds into the hall for some vigorous sutra singing.
Back outside, the lay devotés offer incense to initiator of the ritual 面然 Mianran/ 焰口 Yankou as the monks chant.
The monks fill more stations before the Buddhas.
People disperse as the monks' singing goes on...

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