The Bon Festival in Japan

In the eighth Sutta of Satipatthana Canute argues that when a monk with a silly.

Buddhist painting has acquired in many countries of Asia holidays of commemoration. This is the Zhongyuan festival in China, one of the three big holidays of the year in remembrance. Its culmination is in the middle of the seventh month of the traditional lunar calendar.

It is believed that during this month opened the gates of the abode of the dead, and its inhabitants are free to get into the world of the living. According to popular belief, the origin of the holiday was associated with the Buddhist Holy named Mulian. After his mother’s death like hungry demons, because you ate meat and refused to repent of their deeds. A loving and devoted son descended into the underworld, found his mother and tried to feed her. But any food in her mouth turned into a burning coal. Then the Buddha advised Mullany in the middle of the seventh month to present a Buddhist community generous gifts.

He did just that. Together, the monks offered prayers to the gods, and mother Mulana got rid of a hell of torment. Since then though Buddhists began to make and every year this ritual. According to experts, this Buddhist holiday is superimposed on the ancient tradition of ecstatic communion with the dead, whom living has long been perceived as guardians and protectors of fertility, preserving the earth seeds of life. In China each family symbolically “met” ancestors, brought them a gift of tea, fruits, noodles and the obligatory pumpkin or melon. It was supposed also to tidy the graves and to burn sacrificial paper money and household items intended for the dead. It was believed that the magical power of the fire will take them to another world, where they become real and will be there to serve your ancestors faithfully. Exhibited at the gate of sacrifice consecrated by monks, who in the days of the feast went through the streets, beating gongs, chanted mantras and recited the Holy Buddhist sutras. At the end of the prayers they were thrown into the crowd, pies and fruit with special diligence caught woman: they believed that, catching this pie and eat it, next year they will give birth to a son. In some areas of China, the monks served as special prayer services for the repose of the souls of the drowned. As for prayers of universal salvation in their local churches, they often took several days. Believed that these days are attracted to the Church hungry spirits from all around, and the monks prayed for the repose of their souls. Before temples were laid out for them, treats, and spirits that were thought to be saturated by the aromas of the dishes, and then food was given to the poor and the poor. In those days, and were organized processions with the so-called boat of the Dharma — paper layout boats up to ten meters long, in which were the figures of the demon Lord and other rulers of hell. This boat was carried to the river or other body of water that was nearby, and there burned.

In pageants, showed scenes from the life Mulana. Mostly these were pictures of infernal torments, had not only educational, but also magical in nature: believed that they are able to clear the festival participants from malicious influences. In Japan, the ancient custom of worshipping the souls of ancestors was also included in Buddhist rituals after the VI century when Buddhism found its way to this country. Over time, this holiday, called Bon, was one of the most popular festivals of the Japanese. He always was fun and noisy, because, according to legends, these days every family was visited by the souls of seven generations of the dead, and magically all the family was reunited. The Japanese in the days of the feast spread out in front of a Buddhist altar and a small Mat was placed on it a memorial plate with the names of the deceased. It was thought that each plaque was alive during the return of the soul. For the souls of the deceased also staged a special meal in memory of a faithful son who saved the mother from death in the afterlife. Those are usually cooked food which the deceased loved. On the last day of the feast a commemoration was preparing the gnocchi, which were to support the forces of spirits before returning them to the afterlife. On the graves of the ancestors farewell lit lights — fires. Especially impressive sight was the fires, lighted on the mountain slopes: they portrayed the characters, which could be, for example, the words “Buddha’s teaching”.

The most fun part of the event was the dance called Bon-Odori. It was believed that souls of ancestors coming home from the afterlife, Buddha offered up thanks that they returned safely home. But they could do it, and therefore asked the family to thank the Buddha, and those that served, simultaneously ringing bells and beating drums. Danced everything and everywhere, wearing a special ceremony for elegant clothes and vintage hats. In our time, the Bon festival in Japan, like many other Buddhist holidays, gradually lost its religious character and became a secular.

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