O Bon

O-Bon is a Buddhist memorial service those who have passed.  It comes from a Ullameana Sutra story.  In the story Moggalana, a disciple of Buddha, sees his mother who passed away many years before suffering in the hell of hungry demons!  With the help of some fellow disciples, Moggalana rescues his mother.  As they see her ascend from the hell to the Pure Land, he and his fellow disciples were so joyful they began to dance.  This was the beginning of the Bon Dance that is celebrated after the Bon service.  In Shin Buddhism, O-Bon reminds us to show our respect to the departed, express feelings of gratitude and thankfulness to the living, and that our enlightenment and the departed's enlightenment comes from Amida Buddha's 18th vow.  The above was adapted from Buddhism and Jodo Shinshu (1955), San Francisco: The Buddhist Churches of America Commission of Buddhist Research and Publication.


In a Nut Shell...

Date: 15 August (based on lunar calendar but Hawaii temples celebration dates from June through August to accomate the many Buddhist temples)

Translation: Bon is to hang upside down i.e. suffering

Description:  Bon is an occasion for rejoicing in the enlightenment offered by the Buddha to all those who have died and all those living (from (1986) Shin Buddhist Handbook. Honolulu: Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii).

What does the temple do to celebrate?  Bon Service, Bon Dances, food, games, traditional Japanese music, cleaning of family grave sites.


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