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What is Zen?


Goeika 御詠歌

The goeika is a form of Japanese Buddhist music consisting of short poems of praise written in the hiragana syllabary and sung to the accompaniment of hand bells and small metal gongs. Goeika performances are common at Obon celebrations; ceremonies marking the Buddha’s birth (Tanjo-e), enlightenment (Jodo-e), and passing into Nirvana (Nehan-e); and ceremonies honoring the founders of temples. Often the poems talk of the sufferings and pleasures of ordinary life. When performing the goeika the person’s heart should be as free as possible of distracting thoughts and attachments.

Samples of goeika chanting may be heard at the following sites: