Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly

Awakening Fueled by Rage

HIS SUMMER, while visiting my friend and close dharma sister, Rev. Dana Takagi, I encountered the teaching of Daikoku. A fellow Soto Zen teacher and emeritus professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Takagi had recently returned from traveling in Japan. I was seeking her assistance with writing a name in Chinese characters on a student’s rakusu, the short blue robe received when taking lay vows in a precepts ceremony; the name the student would receive was Kokuji, meaning “healing black medicine.” My friend smiled and said, “I want to tell you something about what I found in Japan.” Everywhere she went, she said, she had encountered Daikokuten (Mahakala), a deity of the great blackness. One of the seven gods worshipped all over Japan, Daikokuten is the deity of protection and prosperity. Daikokutennyo, or Mahakali, represents the feminine aspect of the

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