Spring/Fall Higan (Higan E)

Higan is a Japanese Buddhist celebration during the Spring and Fall equinox.  Higan literally means "Other shore" and symbolizes nirvana.  We are all on "this shore" and endeavor to reach the "Other Shore."  During these two times day and night are in balance and Buddhists would be reminded of the path to the Higan.  Traditionally this was the time to reflect on the six paramitas.  The six paramitas define the path to the "other shore."  Shin Buddhists teach that we have all reached the "other shore" when Amida Buddha attained enlightenment so Higan is celebrated differently.  It is a time to reengage with the paramitas, not because it is a path to where we already are, but because of our gratitude for each having been enlightened.

In a Nut Shell...

Date: 21 March/21 September

Translation:

Shunki Higan-e: Spring season other shore gathering.

Shuki Higan-e: Autumn season other shore gathering. 

Description:  A celebration of the Spring or Fall equinox that is used as a way to refocus on the six paramitas (giving, right behavior, endurance/patience, endeavor/effort, meditation, & wisdom); the six paramitas, when followed through, leads to the "other shore" or nirvana.  For Shin Buddhists, this balance emphasizes the harmony of day and night as a reflection of the virtues of Amida Buddha and leads us to gratefully try to follow the six paramitas, not as a way to the other shore, to acknowledge what Amida has already done for us. 

What does the temple do to celebrate? Special services are performed during these two celebrations.

 

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