Friday, July 13, 2012

Body-Paint Sutra

Before sundown the priest and his acolyte stripped Hoichi: then, with their writing-brushes, they traced upon his breast and back, head and face and neck, limbs and hands and feet,—even upon the soles of his feet, and upon all parts of his body,—the text of the holy sutra called Hannya-Shin-Kyo. When this had been done, the priest instructed Hoichi, saying:—
"To-night, as soon as I go away, you must seat yourself on the verandah, and wait. You will be called. But, whatever may happen, do not answer, and do not move. Say nothing and sit still—as if meditating. If you stir, or make any noise, you will be torn asunder. Do not get frightened; and do not think of calling for help—because no help could save you. If you do exactly as I tell you, the danger will pass, and you will have nothing more to fear."
- Lafcadio Hearn, Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

The scripture of the Hannya-Shin-Kyo can be learned by certain clerics. It takes three hours and three vials of holy ink (similar to holy water) to paint the sutra on a person's body. When the sutra is complete, the painted one is invisible to all forms of undead, nor can they harm him or have any power over him. However, for the sutra to have effect the painted one must be completely naked and may carry nothing save for holy weapons and symbols. In addition, while in the presence of the undead he must not move or make any sound, or the spell will be broken.

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