Rissho Kosei-kai observed the annual Ullambana Ceremony, in remembrance of the departed, on July 15 in the Great Sacred Hall and Dharma centers throughout Japan.
Some 3,400 members attended the ceremony in the Great Sacred Hall. It began with 16 young women members carrying offerings to the main altar, before the image of the Eternal Buddha. President-designate Kosho Niwano led the sutra recitation, and then she and 256 certified Dharma teachers read out the posthumous Buddhist names of their family members. Rev. Niwano then offered a prayer for merit transference.
The head of education affairs at the Haramachi Dharma Center in Fukushima Prefecture testified to her personal experience of the faith. She thanked her deceased father and mother, and said her mother guided her to the faith of Rissho Kosei-kai. She said she overcame her distress after last year's earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan and the accident at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture by making the Dharma her light. She said some fellow members from her Dharma center have engaged in dissemination since being evacuated to other prefectures, but that others have been preoccupied by the difficulties they have faced and that she wants to stay close to each of these members.
President Nichiko Niwano then offered incense and delivered a Dharma talk. He emphasized that the Buddha truly esteems and cherishes all life and that Rissho Kosei-kai members are doing the Buddha's will when they share his teachings and wisdom with others. He explained that understanding the Four Noble Truths and the importance of dissemination in daily life helps people repay their debt to their ancestors. Referring to last year's disaster and the recent downpour that flooded areas of the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, he emphasized the importance of bodhisattva practice. He said that people face one suffering after another all their lives, and in the midst of difficulties members should learn more about the Buddhist teachings, practice them, and share them with others.
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