July 09, 2017 Obon Service 2pm and Dancing Sunday 4pm
Everyone is welcome to join the temple Obon Service where we celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed before us. The temple will have a guest speaker Reverend Kojo Kakihara from Tacoma Buddhist Temple deliver the Dharma talk with the truth of life. The beautiful dancers will dance the traditional Odori dance and invite you to participate or just enjoy.
Free Obon Odori Dance for Beginners and Refreshers June 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29, July 4 & 6
Mrs. Akemi Komori has graciously offered her endless talents, patience, energy and enthusiasm again this year. Akemi and her family have dedicated many years extending their guidance, instructing our dancers to confidently and gracefully glide along to the beat of the Taiko Drum and traditional Japanese folk music. We welcome everyone back and extend an invitation to new dancers joining in “The Dance of Joy”, honouring our ancestors.
In preparation for Obon, odori dance practice is scheduled in the Temple Social Hall with 7 dance sessions on Tuesday & Thursday evenings with our new start time at: 7:00 pm. (Extra lesson times will be held after each class)
The Meaning of OBON - "the dance of Joy" - Reverend Tatsuya Aoki
The origin of Obon can be traced to the Ulambana Sutra which relates the story of Mogallana, the most gifted of Sakyamuni Buddha’s disciples in the area of extraordinary sensory perception. A very filial son, Mogallana one day used his extraordinary powers to visualise the whereabouts of his mother who had died. Searching all the realms, from the highest of the heavens to the lowest of the hells, he was surprised and horrified to find his mother suffering the torments of the realm of Hungry Ghosts. With his powers again, he filled a bowl with food and sent it to his mother. The food burst into flames each time she put it to her mouth. Finding himself helpless in aiding his mother, he ran to the Buddha seeking help. The Buddhia told Mogallana that he needs the combined help of all the monks to help his mother. He was told to bring offerings of food from land and sea, and sweets piled on a platter to the Sangha at the end of the Pravarana. The Pravarana was a period of retreat for the Buddha and his disciples during the rainy season in India. This was from the 15th of April to the 15th of July based on the western calendar. Monks were forbidded to travel in order to avoid the killing of insects which multiplied greatly during the rainy season. They were to stay in one place to listen to the Buddha’s talks, study, and meditate. Mogallana made the prescribed offerings and his mother and seven generations of his ancestors were relieved of their sufferings. Mogallana was so overjoyed that he clapped his hands and danced for joy. This is said to have been the beginning of the Bon Odori (dance). Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land School) does not look upon Obon as the time when the “souls” of one’s ancestors return, nor that the services, offerings, dancing, lights, and etc. are for the benefit of one’s dead relatives. It is rather a time to remember and honour all those who have passed on before us. It is to appreciate all that they have done for us, and to recognise the continuation of the influence of their deeds upon our lives. Obon is a time for self-reflection (an important Buddhist practice) for it is only when a person becomes aware of their own imperfections and insufficiencies that, in contrast to their own ideals, religion becomes a matter of personal concern. Obon is also called the Gatherin of Joy by Jodo Shin Buddhists. It is not the happiness of getting what one desires, but the joy of being shown the Truth of what one is, no matter how damning that truth is to the image of our “ego-self”. It is the joy of the awareness of being embraced in the Truth, in Amida Buddha. Furthermore, Bon Odori is not a dance of happiness, but rather a dance of Joy.
Namo Amida Butsu, Tatsuya Aoki