The Obon

It is the period called "Obon" in Japan.
Unlike in the past, how to spend it varies from person to person, but this time I took up this as a theme.
[ Obon and Holidays ]
The 13th to 15th August is the period of the obon.
There are also many areas where the period of the obon is from the 13th to the 16th.
There are also many areas where the period of obon is from the 13th to the 16th of July.
And there are many companies that will be closed during the obon in August.
Since August 11 is a holiday and 12th is Sunday this year, there are many people who are closed from the 11th day of August to the 15th day of August.
Therefore, many people think that obon is time to simply take continuous vacation.
But the obon is basically a period of doing Buddhist events.
Obon is officially referred to as the Urabon.

Obon and Urabon

[ Origin of Obon ]
As one of the ten greatest disciples of the Buddha, there was Mokuren Priest.
He had supernatural powers.
With him supernatural powers he tried to find out where and how dead mothers were.
There are several worlds after death.
Tendo: The world with the most fun compared to other worlds
Ningendo: The world that suffers more than Tendo but also has fun
Shurado: The world where conflict is always happening
Chikushodo: The world everyone is spending with instinct like animal world
Gakido: The world suffering from hunger and thirst
Jigokudo: The world with the most suffering
His mother was not in the world of Tendo.
She was not in the world of Ningendo, Shurado and Chikushodo.
She was in the world of Gakido.
In the world of Gakido nobody can eat anything and can drink anything.
She was very thin and weakened.
Mokuren Priest sent food to his mother with his supernatural power.
But the food had burned before she ate.
He asked Buddha how to do it.
The Buddha answered.
The ascetic training of Buddhism of many monks will end on 15th July.
Praise their virtues and offer food and drink to them.
Give food and drink to your ancestors and everyone who suffering after the death, and pray that they will find happiness in the world.
Mokuren Priest did exactly as he was taught.
As a result, the mother was saved.
This is said to be the beginning of the Obon.

[Buddhist events performed on Obon]
Obon is the period of welcoming the souls of deceased people into the house.
First of all, we prepare many offerings for welcoming the souls.
I greet the spirits of my family and my ancestors on 13th or 12th August.
It may be done after the sunset or in the daytime.
When welcoming, we fire and incense etc. as the marker so that they will not get lost.
We have a priest chant a Buddhist sutra.
We see the souls off August 15th or 16th.
The way of doing depends on region, family, sect, and other various conditions.

[ Segaki ]
It is said that those who are very greedy and who did not give others will become people who live in the world of Gakido after death.
People who live in the world of Gakido are called gaki.
When we welcome our ancestors, gaki come with them.
We also offer food for the gaki.
We call it "Segaki".

[ Hatsubon ]
The deceased don't be to the other world till the 49th since the death.
We say "Hatsubon" to come home for the Obon for the first time after 49 days after death.
Hatsubon often do different things from ordinary obon.
For example we will make a special decoration.
For example a lot of relatives may come.
Recently, however, there are many people who simplify or do not do the events of the obon and the hatsubon.


(August 14, 2018)

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