PASADENA BUDDHIST TEMPLE OBON - SAT/SUN July 21/22, 2018
Obon is a very special season for Buddhists. Our temple will have the special services to commemorate the first Obon after a loved one's passing (Hatsubon) and the Obon service on Sunday, July 15 at 10 am. Obon is a festive and also a very reflective time and so we will also have our annual Obon Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22.
As part of the Southern District Buddhist Churches of America, we will be dancing all the dances that all the other temples have been learning this summer. Practices are held on Tuesday and Thursdays from 7:00 - 8:00 PM in the Temple parking lot. Bring a tenugui (towel) and kachi kachi. Practices begin on June 26 and will be conducted until our Obon Festival. Our Festival will include Bon Odori (folk dancing that the public is welcome to join), taiko performances, FOOD, martial arts demonstrations, vendors, exhibits (including ikebana), and more.
Come early for good parking. Handicap and our VERY Senior Citizens special parking is available from the Glen Avenue entrance. Regular parking entrance to our lot is from Wyoming Avenue. There is plenty of street parking, please do not block anyone's driveway!
What is Obon?
The Obon Festival grew out of the story of Moggallana, a great and close disciple of the Buddha. Moggallana possessed suprahuman powers of sight. For example, he had the power to even peer into the very depths of Hell. However, when he did so he caught sight of his Mother, being hung upside down and starved, all food and drink bursting into flames when they neared her mouth. Horrified and moved by the impulse to save his Mother, Moggallana went before the Buddha to seek his advice as to how he might bring this about.
Whereupon the Buddha advised Moggallana to make a selfless offering of food and drink to an assembly of monks who had just then finished one of their periodic retreats. He did so and lo and behold, his Mother was freed from Hell. The overwhelming upsurging of joy is symbolized by the act of dancing.
Although its religious origins have been retained, the Obon Festival has now, for the most part, become a quasi-religious or secular folkloristic event in which one’s ancestors are welcomed back to this world and at the Festival’s end, returned to the other world. In the interim, offerings of food and flower are placed before an altar, grave sites are cleaned, lights are lit to brighten the path that leads back
to this world. And on the very last night, paper lanterns are lit, placed on small boats and sent down the river to light the way back to the other world.
Metaphorically, the Obon Dance is a symbolic expression of the tremendous joy of a human being -- for example, Moggallana’s Mother -- being freed of the extreme pain and misery of Hell. The dancing is accompanied by Drums, Flutes, Singing, Hand clapping, shamisen (Cf. Balalaikas or guitars), etc. On the popular folkloristic level, it must be noted that the Obon Dance forms the center of the Obon Festival, in which crowds of dancers, both young and old, dance simply out of sheer exuberance and a sense of free-flowing freedom.
The Obon Festival from a purely Shin Buddhist Viewpoint: Shin Buddhism, the tradition to which the Pasadena Buddhist Temple
belongs, places the greatest emphasis on the spiritual side of the Obon Festival and refers to the Festival as being a “Gathering of Joy” (at having attained freedom from Hell) or in Japanese as “Kangi-e”.
Reverend Tetsuo Unno
Schedule of Events
SATURDAY - JULY 21 SUNDAY - JULY 22
4:00 Exhibits and Vendors Open 4:00 Exhibits and Vendors Open
5:00 SHOTOKAN KARATE (PJCI)* 5:00 KYUDO - Nanka Kyudo Kai (PJCI)
5:30 KENDO (PJCI) 5:30 TAI CHI - Rev. Gregory Gibbs
6:00 L.A. TAIKO ICHIZA performance 6:00 WLA TAIKO performance
6:30 Obon Dancing - audience participation 6:30 Obon Dancing - audience participation
4:00 - 8:00 SILENT AUCTION (Closes at 8:00) 8:15 OPPORTUNITY DRAWING
Exhibits, demonstrations and vendors will be located in Sakai Hall (gym).
*PJCI = Pasadena Japanese Cultural Institute
Ahiozawa Pottery - Handmade clay items by a local artist
Heritage Source Book Sellers
kisanoreen - Handcrafted jewelry
Mariko III - Handcrafted items
Modern M - Asian inspired greeting cards
Pat on the Back - Handcrafted items and unique material
Exhibits (Sakai Hall)