Namu Amida Butsu
During the months of July and August, lots of families in Japan hold their Obon services at their home. This service is for family members to express their gratitude and respect to their ancestors. The children and grandchildren, who may be away from home, take their vacation and return home to attend the service. Participating in this service has been engrained in the children and grandchildren; they will plan their annual vacation to coincide with the Obon service.
Our ancestors, who came to this country, had their dreams. They encountered difficult times and many of their dreams did not come true. But, they patiently shared with us many important values, such as joy, wisdom, compassionate hearts, and their thoughtful minds. The Japanese call it "Omoiyari no kokoro."
When we think of our parents and grandparents, who were our dedicated sangha (members), we are able to feel gratitude toward them—Arigatai (Thanks for making the difficult thing I asked you to do, happen) and peace and serenity in our heart. So, we believe that in our daily lives, we must have a strong mind of "Kansha" and "Okagesamade" the feelings of gratitude and appreciation. Why? Because our lives are interdependent and with their guidance and wisdom, we make our lives precious.
With these spiritual gifts, we are able to assist others with feelings of gratitude and joy. As long as we have a mind of "Arigatai" and "Kansha", we are able to share our true feelings of joy and happiness with others and be able to support our community.
We must remember that our ancestors provided us with guidance, wisdom, and a compassionate heart. They guided us through the path of truth so that we are able to pass it on to the next generation, that is our sincere gratitude and appreciation.
I received from the old timers such words as "Manabe, Uketsuge, and Tsutaero." "Manabe" means to learn, "Uketsuge" means to receive or inherit, and "Tsutaero" means to transmit to the next generations.
Through our parents, grandparents, and our dedicated members, we are able to learn and inherit and thereby transmit to the next generation our true feelings of gratitude. We are living our lives with the mind of "Okagesamade." What is the meaning of the "Okagesama-de?" Okagesama is true feeling of gratitude and appreciation. When we put our hands together in gassho and recite Amida’s Holy name, "Namo Amida Butsu" we are able to feel the deep feelings of peace and serenity in our hearts and this is the true meaning of "Magokoro," the thoughtful mind and the true feeling of Okagesama. At the same time, we are able to realize the legacy, history, and our ancestors’ great guidance of "Magokoro."
Let us remember that by participating in the OBON services, it provides us with the opportunity to meet the spirit of our loved ones and through their spiritual guidance of the Nembutsu, we all are able to meet and receive Amida Buddha’s great wisdom and compassion.
Through the listening of the Buddha Dharma, we are able to recall our loved ones and at the same time feel the joy and happiness when we meet them through the Buddha’s great guidance of the Nembutsu.
Attending Obon is not only a time to enjoy the Bon dance but it is an excellent opportunity for all of us to share our great teaching of the Nembutsu and the true mind and feeling of "Gratitude" to our children and grandchildren and rejoice in the happiness with them. This is one way for us to share with the next generation the great values and thoughtful minds which we have inherited from our ancestors.
So Obon season is a wonderful time for us to be aware of Amida Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion and at the same time remember our loved ones or our ancestors who showed us the wonderful path of Nembutsu. Our loved ones became our Holy Buddha and always reaching and showing us the path of the truth in our daily lives through the great voice of Namo Amida Butsu.
By attending Obon services, may we express our true gratitude and appreciation and recite Amida’s Holy Name "Namo Amida Butsu" with true mind of gratitude that we are meeting with our loves one through the Amida’s infinite wisdom and compassion.
Namo Amida Butsu