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August 25, 2018
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The Ullambana Sutra or Mahayana sutra which involves conversation by the Gautama Buddha instructs Maudgalyayana (a merchant)principally on the filial piety practices on basis of the East Asian Ghost festival. Although, Venerable Maudgalyayana obtained six spiritual piercing and great spiritual powers, but he could not save his mother who was suffering in the kingdom of hungry monsters.. Thereafter, he curtsies down before his teacher. To honor the incident, the festival of the Ullambana or Ancestors day is celebrated. It’s a family union day for helping hands for those who are needed and to get rid of the destruction, wickedness, lust, anger,violence, fear, injustice, envy, greed, bigotry, oppression, and suffering.Ullambana which is also known as Buddha’s Joyful Day or Sangha Day, is a Sanskrit word which means “rescue those are hanged upside down”
Ullambana in Japan
Ullambana or Obon or Yu-lan-pen in chinese is been celebrated for 3 days in Japan for more than 500 years. The first day is Welcoming Obon followed by the last day Farewell Obon. It is a popular event in Japan where people gather, visit graves of their elders, and relieve the tormented souls. They offer food in temples and decorate their houses. To illuminate the spirits, people lighten the candles in river and sea and also obon dance is done. This ceremony is called Toro-nagashi.
Ullambana in China
In China and Taiwan, Ullambana is known to be traditional Ghost Festival, which has similar objectives of praying for the deeds of departed souls. It is celebrated as Chung Yuan Putu, translated as Mid-origin Passage to Universal Salvation. Chinese offer meat to the worship God
Ullambana day or ghost festival is celebrated mainly in China, Japan, India, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. Festival is known as “Ching Ming Jie” in Singapore, “O- Bon” in Japan and Vu Lan in VietnamTemple namely Than Hsiang where Filial Piety Dharma Assembly is held along with a Lamp Lighting Ceremony. This aims to develop respect for parents, ancestors and all sentient beings, that might have been our parents in our past uncountable lifetimes, and to transfer goodness to the all others. Lamp Lighting is ever a symbol of knowledge and dispelling of darkness. People pray and families visiting cemeteries to pay respect to their ancestors. They believe that one with good deed can accumulate spiritual merit. People also offer food to the wondering spirits for good luck.