Yesterday afternoon, all the students trekked over to Sunplaza for a Buddhist ceremony called 成道会 (Joudou e.) Like many of these events, I didn't know what was going on, nor could anyone adequately explain it to me.
It started off with some dancers in white flitting around and then they lit some candles. Then a number parents and students filed up and lit some incense. Then one of my 3rd year students prepared a Tea Ceremony (茶道=sadou) (which took a long time and it was all very mellow and incensing so I had my first catnap of the day.)
The school band performed a song that was very melodic and hymn-like but pretty tough to sing along to. (Out of my range, don't you know. It had nothing to do with the complexity of it.)
Then they introduced a guest speaker, a retired principal from Osaka, 安井里謡道良道 (Yasui Ryoudou), who gave a speech about the trials and tribulations of becoming a monk. Apart from the rigours of climbing up and down a mountain for 10 days, one must also fast for 9 days. On the 9th day, you're given a mouthful of water to gargle with and if you swallow it, you lose out on your monk-hood. In case you're wondering, they measure the water afterwards down to the millilitre, he demonstrated the method for us.
I never did get an adequate explanation of what Buddha achieved, but I suspect that if one could listen to the entire 80 minute rambling without nodding off, you'd be in the right ballpark. Everywhere I looked there were teachers and students in blissful slumber. I did my best to get my jodo working, but I too, succombed to the Sandman's Land of Nod.
(btw...Photos have been removed)