SAN-SAN KUDO 3 TIMES 3
For the Buddhism the marriage isn’t a Sacrament. It is, instead, a symbolic moment enormously strong and emotional but overall it is a moment of mystical sharing.
The ‘Cups’ ceremony is rooted far in the Japanese tradition and it symbolizes the deep bound of the couple and their families on 3 different level of existence: present, past and future.
The whole ritual is deeply characterized by the strong presence of the number three.
The Buddhist ritual of San-San Kudo has no legal value in Italy and that’s why usually the couples decide to institutionalize their marriage with the Italian civil ceremony, which gives a legal value to the act.
HOW IT IS PERFORMED?
The ritual begin with preparation of desks for the newlyweds, witnesses and relatives.
In fact it is important that the groom, his witnesses and his relatives (and before others his brothers and his sisters) are to occupy the tables on the right hand.
This has a precise meaning and symbolizes the role that the groom has had in his own origin family and the one that he will play in the new building family.
In the hall hosting the ceremony will be prepared the ‘butsudan’ containing the Gohonzon (the worship object engraved in odorous sandalwood for the happiness and joy of all mankind).
Than ceremony will begin with the minister of cult who will lead the recite of the Gongyo namely the reading of two parts of Hoben and Yuro chapter of Lotus Sutra.
Afterwards the ‘Byakuren’ (meaning the White Lotus flower), will pour the sake in cups of different size: small medium and large that had been previously placed on the table.
She will pour the liquor in the cups beginning from cups of bride prior to fill those of the groom. The cups are to symbolize the past, the present and future and it is intuitive the reason why the smaller cup represents the past the medium one the present while the largest cup is the ideal representation of future.
The newlywed will take three sips from each of their cup and will exchange between them so that both of them will have effectively nine sips of sake.
Once this part of the ceremony is over, the ’Byakuren’, will pour the liquor in the cups of witnesses and guests beginning from bride’s relatives .Each of them has only one cup and they will sip thrice from it.
Now is the very heart of the ceremony namely the part of it more bounded to the antique tradition: it is at this point of the ritual that the weds exchange the rings and will sign along the witnesses and the minister the certificate of wedding. The minister will then read an excerpt from Gosho namely the writings of Nichiren Daishonin which are now edited in Italian language too.
However, as long as my experience goes, there is no Buddhist wedding equal to another. I have been witness of moments particularly different and extremely intense that had enriched the Buddhist wedding : for instance when the weds have dedicated one each other excerpts from poems or prayers, not necessarily belonging to the Buddhist culture, or they may have exchanged their promises with very touching words……
Even relatives and friends have a role to play in these ceremonies i.e. The time known as ‘open mic’ is a highly appreciated moment and a unique chance to express the friend’s feeling and the good wishes to the weds and almost everyone is keen to do it.
The ceremony will be soon over but before it is needed Sansho which is the recite along all attendants of 3 Daimoku (literally: titles).