Sunday, July 11 will be the Vancouver Buddhist Temple's Obon, Hatsubon, and Monthly Memorial Shotsuki Service.
Obon is one of the biggest services of the VBT calendar, during which we remember our ancestors and acknowledge everything they went through so that we may enjoy the lives we lead today. While this is a memorial service, it is by no means a sombre occasion. One of the highlights of the day comes when we gather to dance in commemoration of our loved ones who have passed.
The tradition of dancing for Obon ("Bon Odori"; "odori" is the Japanese word for "dance") stems from the story of a disciple of the Buddha, Maudgalyayana...
The story goes that Maudgalyayana used his supernatural powers to see his deceased mother. He found her suffering in the the hellish Realm of Hungry Ghosts, unable to quench her insatiable hunger or thirst. Wanting to free his mother from this suffering, Maudgalyayana sought the guidance of the Buddha, and he instructed him to make offerings to many monks on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. Having accomplished this task, Maudgalyayana's mother was released from her suffering and was able to be at peace. Happy at his mother's condition, Maudgalyayana danced for joy.
In the Jodo Shinshu tradition, we take this opportunity to reflect on all the circumstances our ancestors went through, and dance in appreciation for the lives we are able to enjoy as a result of them.
Please join us for the service, starting at 2pm, and the dancing which will start at 4pm.