Gassho is a time honored Japanese and Asian custom from centuries ago. The term "gassho" means "putting one's hands together" or "putting one's palms together" and is usually a physical non-verbal expression used in prayer or as an expression of gratitude. This custom of "gassho" most probably originated in India to worship the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and then spread throughout Asia with the transmission of Buddhism. After the custom arrived in Japan, this expression of "gassho" was integrated with the Japanese tradition of expressing reverence for the "invisible" and a uniquely Japanese interpretation of "gassho" came into being and meaning and was practiced everywhere. For example, putting one's hands together before and after a meal when reciting the traditional words of "gratitude" or a person may put their hands together in "gassho" when offering an apology or making a request for something.
However, we need to be cognizant that this action of "gassho" is a reflection of one's self-centered mind as one is usually hoping to receive or benefit from the action of putting one's hands together in "gassho." What we must always keep in mind is the fact that we are supported by innumerable and immeasurable causes and conditions every instant of our life. For us, "gassho" should become an expression of the embodiment of our feeling of gratitude for the life we have been bestowed.
Placing our hands together in Gassho, let's reflect on the many blessings of life which have been bestowed on us!
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浄土真宗本願寺派 大見山 超勝寺 衆徒。翻訳家。ハーバード大学 神学部研究員を修了し、帰国。現在は、執筆活動や通訳・翻訳を通して、日本仏教を世界に弘める活動をしています。