Obon

22 08 2009

BambooLast week was Obon, in Japan. In short it is a day , a period of remembrance for one’s ancestors. My Family in Japan went to the temple to pray for Otou-san.  I found there was a shin Buddhist Temple here in Alameda, which is the same sect as Otou-san. We have not gone to the temple for Obon, we usually just do it at home. With the presence of the Temple here I figured I would go. As it turned out it was the exact day of Obon, I went which was the day after here in Japan that the Family went or is it before here… Anyway it was an interesting karmic play to find out it was the day  of Obon.

I had gone by this temple on a couple of occasions for different reason. This time was different, before I had not gone to the service. This time I did. I was greeted by the Minster and Assistant and chatted with and made to feel very welcome. It was a very small group there  that day. I was shocked when opening the service he spoke of me, by name as being blah blah blah, and what a karmic event that it was to bring me there, etc etc. I was not only shocked, but somewhat embarrassed by the praise and welcome.

Having been to several Zen services I was somewhat prepared for the service. Different from Zen, no intense meditation only a few moments of quiet, even that had music going. Then there was a small bit of chanting and a group song. In honor of the the day it was the Obon song. The temple folks may chant well, but their singing needs work…seriously.

The next part of the service was really a surprise it was a sermon, just like in Christian Church’s. Almost. Not talk of the bible and the Holy Trinity but the layout and idea was the same Re-linking/Staying Linked with the Force and Loving one another Dealing with people from the Heart.  I was surprised. Then a small chanting  and it was done. Nice! I like simple short services. It was a comforting experience, feeling familiar from Church days.

I was leaving when the Minister invited to stay for oCha and snacks. I did, I was invited to sit with him and a few others and just chat whilst having tea. Everyone was nice enough, they usually are when you go visit a church. I did feel more comfortable than other churches I’ve visited. The Minister was kind of funny. He was much much friendlier this time. Before polite, but now friendly. It was a worthwhile visit on several levels. I’ll go back from time to time for a couple of reasons, none of which is converting ( it is interesting some of the commonalities with Christianity). It maybe a good place to setup a Kyudo Dojo. Maybe more of that new-birth thing…

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