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Agon Shu's Hoshi Matsuri (Stars and Fire Rites Festival)

The Hoshi Matsuri, or Fire Rites Festival, is held on the grounds of Agon Shu Sohonden Main Temple in Kyoto on February 11 at 9:30 a.m. every year . The formal name of Agon Shu’s Hoshi Matsuri is the Fire Rites Festival – Agon Shu’s Hoshi Matsuri/ Shinto-Buddhist Dai-Saito Goma Ceremony (Shinto-Buddhist Sacred Fire Rites). It is held on February 11 each year on the grounds of the Main Temple located in Kitakazan-omine, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto, and is the biggest annual event of Agon Shu. The Hoshi Matsuri has been held for the past 30 years, with more than half a million worshippers participating in this event. It is a well-known winter festival event of Kyoto.
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Shinto-Buddhist Fire Rites Festival Carried Out by Secret Ceremony The great spiritual leader Kiriyama Kancho conducts the Hoshi Matsuri, or the Fire Rites Festival, through the secret teachings of Shinto and Buddhist realms mastered through his many years of training. Two Goma-dan, or giant sacred wooden pyres, are erected on the ritual grounds. Hosho Goma, which changes one’s luck for the better and brings treasures of life, is lit at Shinkai-dan, the Shinto Realm, and Kongokai-dan, or the Diamond Realm, of one of the giant sacred wooden pyres. Gedatsu-kuyo Goma, which venerates ancestors in order to bring good luck, is lit at the Bukkai-dan, or the Buddhist Realm, and Taizo-dan, or the Womb-store Realm, of the second sacred wooden pyre

Shinsei Busshari or authentic relics of the Buddha
A Rare Opportunity to Be Blessed with Great Power at the Hoshi Matsuri Each of us has a “birth star,” and the destiny and fortunes of each person are understood to be linked with this star. The Hoshi Matsuri is a Buddhist festival celebrating one’s birth star and the star governing one’s destiny for the coming year. The ceremony, conducted through secret rites of esoteric Buddhism, prays for individual happiness throughout the year, as well as for world peace and prosperity. Combining the great virtues of the Shinto and Buddhist realms with the Shinsei Busshari, or authentic relics of the Buddha, the Hoshi Matsuri brings the power of liberation and equanimity, in a rare opportunity for worshippers and participants to be blessed with extraordinary power and benefit.
Kiriyama Kancho conducts the special rites and chants nine secret words repeatedly throughout the day. The festival starts at 7:30 in the morning and lasts until around 4:00 in the afternoon. The sacred fires rise tens of meters in height to the sky, from both of the giant pyres, and continue to burn throughout the day. Kiriyama Kancho and approximately 18,000 Agon Shu members and practitioners conduct the Hoshi Matsuri.

Goma-Gi, or prayer sticks, and Goma Fuda, or prayer tablet
Rokuju Seishuku Shugoshinsho (The Statues of Sixty Zodiacal Symbols) Special permission was granted to Agon Shu by White Cloud Temple (Baiyunguan) in Beijing, China, to reproduce the famous secret statues of the Sixty Zodiacal Symbols, and to erect an altar to these deities in Japan. These replicates, displayed on the day of the Hoshi Matsuri, represent the guardian deities of all people. In Chinese and Japanese tradition there is a sixty-year cycle in which each year corresponds to a particular deity. Each person has a guardian deity according to the year of his or her birth. The sacred statues of these guardian deities, which have been worshipped in Taoism, have never previously been allowed to be reproduced outside the White Cloud Temple. Agon Shu is the only religious organization to have been granted permission to reproduce these statues for public veneration. A temporary shrine on Agon Shu's Main Temple grounds allow public veneration of these guardian deities on the day of the Hoshi Matsuri ceremony.