Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Obon - August 15th of every year

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed spirits of one's ancestors. Obon or Bon festivals usually last for three days around August 15th.

Q.. Obon is said to be the time of communication with our ancestral spirits. Are these ancestors the ones that have not yet reach heaven?

A.. From August 11th midnight, every year, I sense the gates open of the World of Spirits and the World of Hell. The ones that have not reached heaven and the lower ranks from the World of Spirits seem to visit us. By August 15th, space seem to warp.

Every year around this time, the ancestral sprits including the lost souls are allowed to enter and visit the World of Reality. The ancestors who had already been elevated to the World of Spirits can visit their family or any where in the World of Reality any time they want. However, they no longer have much interest in this reality so they will not be visiting so often. On the other hand, the ancestors who departed not too long ago or the ones that are lost in the lower worlds are not allowed to visit the World of Reality freely. They can only visit during Obon which is around August 15th. They still possess the desires they had during their lifetime, so they will try to experience the desires by using their descendents’ body. For example, if he still has the desire to eat, he will use their descendents’ body to eat his favorite food. The descendent will all of a sudden have the desire to eat or drink something they usually would not. They might suddenly feel like going to a place they wouldn’t usually go.

During the time of Obon, it is good to gather with your family and friends, enjoy the time and eat and drink what you “feel” like eating or drinking. This is a way to make your ancestors’ wish come true, which is a part of ancestral worship with gratitude awareness.

You should be careful not to get into fights or arguments. Some of the lost souls may try to lead you into it. If you sense the urge to argue or fight, know that it is the lost soul of your ancestor that is trying to lead you into it. In this case, it’s better not to honor their desire and just let your urge pass through. If you get caught in his or her negative emotions, you will regret it later.

The lost souls of your ancestors will not be able go to heaven just by watching their descendents live righteously. They are suffering, and their mind is occupied with loneliness. They don’t have the space in their mind to “learn” from just watching. It’s like a big fat adult saying to a starving small child, “Watch my smile. Isn’t a smile a wonderful thing.”

The best way to help the lost souls is to send gratitude with incense. It will bring a realization to them.

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu
Thank your for letting us live