HOMA (Goma, jap)
Homa is the “Fire” ritual meditation. Originating in ancient India, it was later appropriated to Buddhist use. Homa means the burning of darkness and the term gives the image of an upsurging flame. By this ritual, we may burn up those Karmic defilements, which still remain within us. It is the “fire of the Wisdom of the Buddha” which destroys all worldly passions. There is the “Outer” Homa, which is the actual fire kindled in the ritual, and the “Inner” Homa, that is the fire of the Wisdom of the Buddha which we have kindled within our minds. There are five different stages in the ritual differing according to the particular Deities involved.
It is written in the Yoga ritual book about the Inner Fire as follows: “When the hand creates the Buddha's Mudra, it increases the power of sacred prayer flags and banners. It subdues the anger of Deity Vajrapani, who then will accept our invitation. One should have respect and love for the Lotus Scripture. In executing this ritual, all five Yoga meditation methods should be used”. The Outer Homa is offered to Buddha and Bodhisattva to enhance the power of the Dharani and to bring about faster results. One must have a heart of perfection as the basic motivating force. The book of rituals on Homa said: “Focus and meditate on the word “A”, imagine yourself being surrounded by fire, which is burning off all the bad karmas, and see the woods – your ignorance - being burned off leaving nothing behind. The clear holy water will flow and refresh all ten directions of the world, and it will help grow the seeds of wisdom, and the 'seedsyllable' will be born. This is the Body of Law, the secret of internal ritual of Homa. “
In fact, the Outer Homa ritual only has the effect of eliminating sins and producing blessings in this samsara (world of life and death) while the Inner Homa has the effect of eliminating worries that cause rebirth. If the Shingon practitioner does not understand this concept and only practices the Outer Homa, he will just be a common fire worshipper.
In summary, Secret Buddhism worships The Body of Law above all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The organization of the Secret school has different levels and different names. However, the secret magic arts are always kept behind doors, hidden to the general public. It is the secret rules transmitted verbally from the master to his disciple. It is the tradition to keep the sacred laws secret. In the past, when a master wanted to pass on the secret doctrine, he must observe among his disciples to choose the one best qualified, one who has more virtue than karma, one who has totally devoted to achieving liberation and
detachment from the world. The master would then hand down the precious teaching to help that person achieve his goal. It is similar to throwing jewels into the river if the doctrine is given to the wrong person. If the practitioner receives the secret doctrine while his karma is still heavy, or if his heart is still attached to worldly pleasures, or if he is not fully committed to the Path of Enlightenment, it would not be useful for him, and he may damage it. Even when the teachings are exposed, it would be difficult for anyone to understand its full meaning due to the complexity of the rituals. That is why it is called Secret Buddhism, also called True Words, because it represents the path of the original word. The word is not spoken using common language; it is spoken through a Mantra (sacred speech), a Yantra (sacred seal), a Mandala (sacred Altar), and through Maithuna (Love).