Nichiren Peace Center

Vancouver Island Retreat Garden, a Buddhist Community

Buddha Blog – Fall Equinox

Buddha Blog – Fall Equinox – Higan E- Ceremony

At two days of the Year the length of daylight and darkness in a day is very close to being exactly equal as the sun rises due East and sets directly in the West. Signifying the Oneness of light and dark, happiness and suffering, water and sand.

Working with nature is a Buddhist tradition. The Buddha-way teaches that the world we live in is called saha or realm of endurance and it is here on earth where we find life’s challenges and the knowledge that with life comes what we call death.  The Buddhist memorial at the time of death  is a celebration of  “crossing over the sea of suffering.” In Sanscrit the word is “paramita” and means to “arrive on the other shore.”

At this moment on this side of the shore with the source of all our desires, karma and suffering, health, happiness and everything in between. On the other side is the eternal world of light, energy and nirvana.  Here on mother Earth we can obtain benefit by showing our gratitude to our family linage and to all those we remember in our daily empowerment for those who we have loved and known that have left mother Earth.

In our daily Liturgy we repeat the words of the Buddha’s teachings to remind us that there is a great energy force, a root life force on mother Earth based on the SUN, the workings of which produce through the Law of Cause, Karma and effect; all things including life and death.  Knowing that all must die in this world we offer our Spiritual nature through faith, practice, study and meditation.

Equinox Day offers us an opportunity to be closer within the axis of earth, Sun, Moon and Space, a day of strength within our spiritual nature, a opportunity to meditate for self and others and an opportunity to offer memorials on behalf of family, friends, relatives, ancestors. With the scientific knowledge we are at this moment closer to
all that is!

In the Shingyo Hikkei, Nichiren Shu Members Handbook we find the following prayer: Tsuizen Eko / Memorial Prayer: p. 95  “May we respectfully dedicate the merits of chanting the Lotus Sutra and reciting the Odaimoku in the presence of the Buddha, our Founder Nichiren and the Three Treasures to the memory of:
[name/s………] for whom we observe the [anniversary date]

Which means, may the sound of recitation of the Lotus Sutra and the chanting of the Infinite title of the Lotus Sutra permeate throughout the spiritual world; may the [karmic energy] of the deceased permeate throughout the [universe] may the heart of our meditations permeate throughout the [universe] and our merits go to the memory of [name/s…..] and increase their opportunity for re-birth.

In performing offerings for the deceased during the Equinox Days of the Year, we are scientifically more closely connected to earths universal nature. We will accumulate greater merit for our future; as we make offerings for those we love, miss and remember.

On the two Equinox days, it is scientifically proven that the earth is changing it’s axis in relation to the universe, as Buddhist’s  we believe  the benefits of doing positive works on these days will bring more than usual benefit.

It is said in the Lotus Sutra, “if there is a good man or woman in the future who listens to the Lotus Sutra, believes in it and reveres it with a pure heart, and has no doubts; such a person would not fall into the three lowest realms. Instead such a person will be reborn in the land
of the Buddha surrounded by the Buddha’s of the Ten Directions.” How much closer we are
for this annual opportunity around and during the time of the Equinox.

The Toba offering we make in remembrance of those who have died includes the offering of incense in respect of the person(s) who have left this life for the other shore.
We approach the container holding the burning charcoal and the powdered incense.  We bow respectfully towards the Gohonzon Mandala then approach the Toba Memorial Altar  as we chant for the persons we are remembering.   We take a pinch of incense and drop it on the burning charcoal asking that life’s negative karma be expiated. We repeat the offering three times. Once for the persons many past lifetimes, secondly for his or her most recent lifetime, and thirdly for enlightenment in their moment of now, which is in our future.

At the beginning of Fall then we are offered an opportunity for each of us to arrive safely on “the other shore” later, while doing good works in the here and now.

Thus It Has Been Shared, respectfully, #TMHenry

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