Where:Seattle Koyasan Buddhist Temple
Following are some of the special occasions celebrated at Seattle Koyasan.
FEBRUARY 2015: The Hoshi Matsuri Prayer Service for the Year 2015 will be held on Sunday, February 8th at 12 Noon at the Seattle Koyasa Buddhist Temple, 1518 S. Washington Street, Seattle, WA 98144. Please contact the Temple by February 3rd, 2015, with the # of your star, your name and date of birth. Email: mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone: 206-325-8811.
Based upon the movements of the Sun and the stars, we have established a year to be 365 days, a week to be seven days, a day to be twenty-four hours. The phases of the moon are used to create the lunar calendar, and the movement of the sun determines our present solar calendar. Our lives and customs of daily living are dependent on these cycles. The heavenly bodies have been inseparably tied with our lives. Ancient astrology has determined the Seven Stars (Shicihiyo) and Nine Stars (Kyusei) and the 28 constellations (Nijuhachi Shukusei).
Always we yearn for good health and good fortune, but it is not easy even to maintain matters around you in the same state. Environments are changing second by second. You can never be independent from everything surrounding you. Therefore, please attend the Star Matsuri Prayer Service to build good relationships with the heavenly bodies and deities who are quietly corresponding with your life this year.
MARCH & SEPTEMBER 2015: We celebrate Ohigan at the Spring and Autumnal Equinox. The practice started with Emperor Shomu in the 8th century CE, who was a devout Buddhist.
Today, the two dates – one in Spring, the other in Fall – are national holidays. In Buddhism, when the sun is directly overhead at noon at the equator, and day and night are of equal length, it is viewed as comparable to crossing over from this life of ignorance and suffering to the “other side” of enlightenment and peace. Also, this is supposed to be the time when we are closest to those now in the spirit world.
Higan is a place on the mythical Sanzu River where people go after they die. So celebration of Ohigan consists of giving thanks to those who have “crossed over” before us–our ancestors. People visit temples and offer prayers, incense, water, flowers for their ancestors. It is a time of self-reflection and gratitude.
Buddha’s BirthdayAPRIL 2015: Traditionally, sweet tea is poured over the baby Buddha’s head in celebration of his birth.
JUNE 2015: Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism, was born on June 15th, 774 A.D. This month we have the traditional “Osuna-fumi” Pilgrimage service to celebrate his birthday. “Osuna” means sand. “Fumi” means to step on it. It means you walk on 88 sand bags whose sand is taken from each of the 88 temples founded by Kobo Daishi in Shikoku Island.
We are also on our journey. Bad things may happen. Good things may occur. But don’t be over-depressed or over-joyed. Still your journey continues. Let us walk step by step with gratitude, remembering that we are embraced by the ceaseless prayer of Kobo Daishi or the bottomless compassion of the universe.
Kobo Daishi is still on his journey to rescue all the sentient beings, struggling in their sufferings. We celebrated the day with “Osuna-fumi”, the Virtual Stepping-Sand 88 Temple’s Pilgrimage, and pouring 3 scoops of sweet tea on the head of the statue of Baby Kobo Daishi.
JULY 2015: Obon is a Japanese term translated from the Sanskrit word ‘Ullambana’ which actually means ‘to hang upside down’. It is used to imply the excruciating suffering, be it physical or spiritual, when one is hung upside down.
The festival is considered an Invitation to the Dead because it is believed to be a time when the spirits revisit our world. The origins of Obon come from the Urabon Sutra.
TMokuren Sonja, Sâkyamuni’s disciple and a priest renowned for his supernatural powers amongst all the other disciples, used his supernatural powers to look upon his deceased mother. When doing so, he realized that his mother had fallen into the hands of hungry ghosts which were tormenting her. The disciple sought for advice from Sâkyamuni on what to do to free his mother from the torture, the Buddha advised him to give an offering to his fellow priests who had just finished their summer retreat. Upon doing this, he saw his mother freed from the torture and danced joyously after the incidence.
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