The Buddha’s Disciple
After New Year’s, Obon is the most important of Japan’s national holidays. Also known as the Feast of the Lanterns or the Festival for the Dead, Obon is the time set apart for the veneration of our ancestors. The time dedicated to the restoration of familial and generational ties. The time when we remember the dead.
The Japanese is an abbreviation of Urabon, a phonetic reduction of the Sanskrit Ullambana, meaning “to hang upside down.” It represents the suffering of those “hungry ghosts” whose sins have forestalled their reincarnation and consigned them to the torments of Hell. On the final day of Obon, the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month (accord- ing to the old calendar), the Ruler of the Earthly Realms grants forgive- ness to all such benighted souls and thus upon all...