|The calligraphy pages in this album all were collected during visits to Japan, from my first homestay in 1995 to a summer of strenuous and enjoyable volunteer projects under the auspices of N.I.C.E. in 2001. In due course the entire collection will make an appearance, beginning with the most recent examples. There will be no discrimination on the basis of judgements about the calligraphy or even about the recording medium. (For example, the entry in the album below for Sapporo Betsuin simply was stamped into the seal book by the temple receptionist.) It seems preferable to give a truly representative display of contemporary practice. |
You can view the index page (see link, above) for an overview of all the goshuin in the collection. The Seal books page describes the physical albums where the calligraphy resides.
The joy of goshuinFor a pilgrim, the goshuin may be a tangible record of a vow fulfilled and worship performed. At the same time, each is a vivid reminder of the place and the time where it was created; each carries the ambiance of the temple or shrine and expresses the personality and mood of the one who created it. Some convey the writer's enthusiasm; others express conscientiousness, a few boredom. Often the face of the creator comes back vividly, and passing conversation is recalled. Beyond these very personal associations, each goshuin may be either a perfunctory clerical record or a work of art all can enjoy. There is always something of interest, such as the shrine or temple's seal, and one receives a lesson in writing styles.
The sharing and mutual enjoyment of goshuin was the purpose of the Goshuin tomo no kai "Friends of goshuin association" formerly found at http://u-go.to/gosyuin/, which included a gallery.
"About goshuin "The essay of this name sometimes is given to the visitor when the seal-book is returned with the newly inscribed goshuin (see reference in the Seal books page). The following translation is of a Buddhist version, received at Sensouji and other temples.
In recent times the number of people who have received goshuin ["red seal-stamps"] while making visits to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples has grown very large. We also call these objects gonoukyou ["offered sutra scripture"], because these started out originally with one personally copying a sutra and giving it as an offering. Therefore in the old days the phrase "dedicated to [hounou]: the Mahayana sutra collection" was written in a spot on the upper right of one's record-book of offered scriptures. In modern times the phrase "worship offering" [ houhai, , written in the upper right corner of a goshuin] is a remnant of this usage.Another version of this text, distributed at a Shinto shrine, omits some of the historical detail and the specifically Buddhist references. The visitor in quest of a goshuin is simply requested to recite in front of the inner sanctuary (honden) or to worship in the position of gasshou with hands pressed or clapped together (as in photo at left).
|Copyright © 2002 C.J. Brunner|| Comments or questions? Contact: |