Higan is the period during which Buddhists in Japan recommend holding memorial services for their ancestors. Twice a year, one week before and after the vernal equinox and the autumnal equinox, people visit graves and make offerings to Buddhist altars throughout Japan.
When it comes to memorial services for ancestors, the Midsummer Obon Festival is famous, but Obon is the period when ancestors return to this world, so it is important to offer hospitality.
On the other hand, during the equinoctial week, it is the time when you are approaching the world of Buddha from here, so a certain amount of training is required.
Of course, it doesn't mean that you should practice blindly. There is a dedicated one called Ṣatpāramitā, so let's put it into practice.
Higan is originally called "Pāramitā" in Indian language. In the sense of being completed, it represents the world of Buddha.
Our world is this shore, and a big river flows between this shore and the other shore, and it is a world view that is separated by a distance.
In Buddhism, various vehicles (training methods) were considered to cross this river and cross to the other bank. Mahayana Buddhism (the Buddhism of a large vehicle) that was introduced to Japan is also called Paramitaya because it emphasizes the vehicle (training method) called Ṣatpāramitā (six paramitas).
As many of you may have noticed, both Higan and Haramitsu are translations of "Pāramitā", meaning Higan when taken, and Haramitsu when transcribing the pronunciation as it is. Ohigan is exactly the period of paramitsu.
In Japan, ancestor memorial services have been recommended as a way to practice Rokuharamitsu. Let's take a closer look below.
Dāna means giving.
Dānapāramitā means something perfected as an act of giving, and is a act of giving something without asking for anything in return.
People inadvertently take it for granted that there should be a certain amount of compensation when they give something, complain when the compensation is small, and rejoice when the compensation is large.
For example, let's say you are invited to a wedding reception. At that time, compared to the amount of money I gave as a gift
If you think about it, the money you have wrapped up as a gift will torment you.
In Buddhism, there is a form of exchange of goods in the form of "Don't ask for anything in return. It is not forced by anyone, and the person who wants to do it offers it as much as he wants to do it, when he wants to do it.". (This is called Dānapāramitā) is recommended. By doing this, it is the wisdom of Buddha to prevent unnecessary suffering from occurring in interactions with others.
Of course, it's not just about money, it's also about various gifts, showing a smile, and casual consideration.
Let's bow together with people who pass each other!
Śīla are to keep the precepts. Jikaiharamitsu means "one who observes the precepts and is perfected", and in the Shingon sect, it means to live by observing the Ten Precepts.
Precepts are rules established to prevent bad things and do good things. The Shingon sect recommends observing the Ten Precepts, which consist of 10 items.
If you look at them one by one, even elementary school students will understand them, but the older you get, the more difficult it is to protect them.
If you suddenly try to protect it, it won't last, so let's live with the following items in mind during the equinoctial week, like trying to ban snacks for a week. You may be looking forward to protecting it gradually. Doing good things without doing bad things is natural, but it feels good.
Keeping one's body clean and cleaning Buddhist altars and graves are symbols of obeying the precepts, as they are related to purifying one's behavior and feelings. This includes purifying oneself with incense etc.). Let's go ahead and do it ourselves.
Kṣānti is to endure. Kṣāntipāramitā means 'one who has endured and is perfected', and is a state in which the mind is not disturbed and can accept everything.
The flower of Buddhism is the lotus flower, and while the lotus flower grows in the mud, it blooms beautifully without getting dirty.
No matter what kind of environment you are in, your essence is pure and unblemished. The figure that endures no matter what and is calm without getting angry is like a lotus flower.
For modern people, it may seem a little disgusting to just keep enduring, but there are three types of endurance, so let's take a closer look at each.
The opposite of patience is anger.
If you get angry about these things, your mind will be disturbed. Pay attention to your own heart, not the mind of the other person, and try to remain calm at all times.
Of course, the goal is not to endure, but only by doing so will you be able to practice giving without asking for anything in return, and practice the precepts without surrendering yourself to anger, and you will be able to create the soil that accepts everything.
Do what you need to do now without worrying about the other person's words and deeds. Patience protects one's heart at that time, and it is the foundation of all training.
Life doesn't often go as planned. Sometimes I get sick, sometimes I worry about relationships.
If you have a problem that you can solve with effort, do not be sad, upset, worried, angry, or frustrated, and do what is necessary to solve it. let's go
On the other hand, if it's something that can't be resolved no matter what you do, getting angry won't help. When you get distracted by things that you can't help, it creates new suffering.
By staying calm and undisturbed in your situation, you gain the space to accept everything and the courage to move forward.
Ashuku Nyorai is also known as Fudobutsu. In the sense of being a Buddha who is not afraid of anything and has an unshakable heart like the earth, he attained Buddhahood through extreme endurance.
Training goes back and forth. Sometimes I think I've endured it well, other times I'm angry and sad. It's human.
At times like this, don't deny yourself that you can't do it, or that you can't do this kind of training.
Perseverance is not simply endurance, but gives us the courage to accept everything and move on.
When you offer flowers to graves and Buddhist altars on the equinoctial week, please remember this, and see the plants that always bloom in any situation, and get the courage to move forward.
Vīrya is a person who is brave and continues to do good deeds. Vīryapāramitā means "something completed by continuous good deeds" and is a state of continuing to do good deeds.
However, it is not the case that just continuing good deeds in any form will lead to diligence.
For example, training that is done out of a sense of responsibility or duty is not diligence. An activity that you suddenly get tired of doing is not diligence.
The state of being able to enjoy doing good deeds and keeping it as motivation is called diligence for the first time.
Vīrya can be said to be a “good deed-driven” act (an act driven by good deeds).
For what good deeds are, see Śīlapāramitā.
There are several pairs of words for diligence.
Procrastinating means that you are not really driven.
If you don't do something that you think you should do, or if you feel motivated to do something easier, you're just as unmotivated.
To say I can't and give up means that I'm not driven.
Dainichi Nyorai's mantra "Abiraunken" is called the mantra of Daigon Yuzanmai (great courageous work). A buddha is a person who enjoys helping people and continues to work to save them.
If you gain the courage to move forward through patience and devote yourself to good deeds, the completion of your training is right in front of you.
If these things become fun during the equinoctial week, let's continue!
The offerings and food are symbols of devotion, so it might be a good idea to offer buddha's food every day.
Dhyāna is to meditate. Dhyānapāramitā means "perfected through meditation" and is to keep the mind in good condition, insightful, focused and compassionate.
When you think of meditation, some people may imagine words such as "become nothing" or "get rid of worldly desires."
You cannot concentrate when your mind is disturbed.
For example, if someone has a cat at home and leaves the cat behind, the whole family goes on a long trip. Even if you ask your neighbors or a custody service to take care of your cat, somewhere in your heart, you may be worried about your cat and will be worried about it during your trip.
In the same way, good deeds are hard to do when we are preoccupied with other things.
So, by meditating, you can cut off the unnecessary parts of your mind and gain insight into what you really need. In the process, he cuts off things like “I am XX” and “That person is XX”, and concentrates only on “eliminating suffering by doing good and not doing evil”. I hear you.
This will naturally lead you away from anger and comparison with yourself and you will find peace of mind.
Incense sticks are a symbol of Zenjoharamitsu, so let's meditate slowly while enjoying the pleasant scent of incense.
Prajñā means wisdom. Prajñāpāramitā means 'that which is perfected by wisdom', the essence of all things is emptiness, It refers to the wisdom of observing the world in a state away from the distinction between self and others.
It may seem like a difficult thing to hear, but it's okay.
Ṣatpāramitā is a flow in which one acquires this wisdom naturally as one advances through offering → precepts → endurance → diligence → meditation.
Instead of aiming for a goal all at once, take it one step at a time.
The Ṣatpāramitā are trainings that are linked to each other.
The candles on the Buddhist altar are a symbol of this Prajñāpāramitā and illuminate ignorance. Through this Ṣatpāramitā training, let us all become lamps that illuminate the world.
At Byodo-ji Temple, we are accepting memorial services for the equinox online. During the memorial service, we will read out the names and posthumous names of your ancestors and loved ones, so please feel free to make a request.
During the equinoctial week, the memorial service will be held every day at 7:00 pm and will end around 9:00 pm. After the chief priest recites the sutra, I will read out the name of each person and offer a memorial service. The prayer number assigned to you when you applied will be displayed on the live streaming screen, so you can easily see when your request was read.
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