Rissho Kosei-kai Holds Hundredth-Day Memorial Service for Earthquake and Tsunami Victims
June 18 was the hundredth day since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit northeastern Japan March 11. On and around June 18, Rissho Kosei-kai held hundredth-day memorial services for the victims, at the Great Sacred Hall in Tokyo and the Dharma centers in the disaster areas. Participants prayed for the repose of the spirits of the victims and the disaster areas' rapid recovery.
At the Sendai Dharma Center in Miyagi Prefecture, some 500 members gathered for the service on June 18. The posthumous Buddhist names of the deceased members were read out after the sutra chanting service led by Rev. Yoshimasa Watanabe, the center's minister. Fifty-four members who had lost immediate family members or other relatives in the disaster, served as assistant chanting leaders. Following speeches by four members, Rev. Watanabe said it was important to keep moving forward, while looking for the light of the Buddha's teaching even in sufferings.
The Dharma centers in other devastated areas that held hundredth-day services were Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, on June 15; Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture, on June 17; and Fukushima, Iwaki, and Taira in Fukushima Prefecture, on June 18.
The service in the Great Sacred Hall on June 18 was attended by Rev. Kosho Niwano, president-designate of Rissho Kosei-kai, and Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe, chair of the Board of Trustees. Other officers and staff members of the Tokyo headquarters and the affiliated organizations also took part.
After leading the sutra chanting, Rev. Watanabe explained the organization's relief efforts and future plans. Two headquarters staff members who had visited the Ishinomaki Dharma Center as members of the headquarters' relief team, Zenyu-tai, reported on their relief activities.
In her address to the participants, Rev. Niwano referred to the vow for universal merit transfer in the Lotus Sutra and stressed the importance of constant mindfulness in daily life of the need to assist people in the devastated areas.
According to Japanese funeral tradition, the one hundredth day after the time of death is called sokkokuki (the day to finish weeping over the death of a loved one), when memorial services are held to recall the virtues of the deceased and as an opportunity for the bereaved to move forward.
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