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Annual Memorial Days and Special Ceremonies and Events

Rissho Kosei-kai observes the following annual memorial days when members hold special ceremonies and events.

DATE EVENT DESCRIPTION
December 31 - January 1 New Year's Visit for Worship Rissho Kosei-kai members in Tokyo visit the Great Sacred Hall at midnight on New Year's Eve in order to pray through their sutra recitation for humanity's happiness and world peace for the year. Local members also visit the training halls of their churches to pray.
January 7 The Day of the President's First Sermon The president of Rissho Kosei-kai delivers his first sermon of the year to give guidance on religious practice, displaying examples of his traditional Japanese calligraphy featuring symbolically significant words that he wrote on two hanging scrolls on New Year's Day.
January 20 to February 3 Midwinter Religious Training To purify their hearts and minds, members gather at the Great Sacred Hall and the local Dharma Center's training halls in the early morning to recite the Threefold Lotus Sutra a few chapters at a time.
February 3 Setsubun, the Traditional Bean-scattering Setsubun is observed on the day separating winter and spring according to the ancient lunar calendar. Members gather at local churches and other centers to toss beans that symbolize dispelling the evil accumulated during the past year and preparing for a fresh start in the lunar New Year.
February 15 Shakyamuni's Entrance into Nirvana Shakyamuni died on February 15, when he is said to have entered nirvana, the perfect state in which the mind and body are freed of all illusions. After entering nirvana and extinguishing his physical form, he became one with the eternal life-force of the universe and has continued to be involved with the salvation of all living beings, including ourselves. This anniversary enables us to recognize that truth, and thus it is considered a day of thanksgiving to the Buddha rather than a day of sadness over his death.
March 5 Anniversary of Rissho Kosei-kai's Founding Members reflect on the significance of the establishment of Rissho Kosei-kai. Founder Niwano established the organization with about thirty fellow members on March 5, 1938 in the spirit that all humanity could be saved through the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Members renew their gratitude and vow to be engaged in bodhisattva practice for the welfare of others.
April 8 Shakyamuni's Birth Shakyamuni's birth is celebrated on April 8. On that day, members reflect on the meaning of his birth and join in the ritual of pouring sweet tea over an image of the infant Shakyamuni, which is placed in a miniature pagoda. In India, Sri Lanka, and many Southeast Asian countries, Vesak is observed according to the Theravada tradition on the full-moon day of the lunar month, which falls in April or May. This festival celebrates the main events of the Buddha's life--his birth, attainment of buddhahood, and entrance into nirvana.
Third Sunday in May Youth Day Young members of Rissho Kosei-kai engage in activities that benefit society on this day. They do this by taking part in campaigns such as collecting blankets to send to needy people overseas, soliciting contributions for UNICEF, calling public attention to destruction of the natural environment, promoting the recycling of wastes, and the like.
July 15 Ullambana Ceremony According to the Ullambana Sutra, Mogallana, a monk in the early Buddhist order, was able to rescue his mother from hell by the merits that he and his fellow monks attained through reciting sutras. Members gather at the ceremony to recite the sutra for the attainment of buddhahood by their ancestors.
August 15 Day for the Repose of the Spirits of the War Dead and Prayers for Peace The Second World War ended on this day in 1945. Members pray for world peace and wish that all the victims of the war, Japanese and non-Japanese, combatants and civilians, will attain a peaceful state in the spiritual realm.
September 10 Remembrance of Cofounder Naganuma's Virtues Cofounder Myoko Naganuma died on September 10, 1957. She had dedicated her whole life to the dissemination of the teachings of the Lotus Sutra for the salvation of many people. Members remember her virtues of compassion and religious practice through this ceremony and pledge to follow her example in their daily activities.
October 4 Founder Niwano's Entrance into Nirvana Founder Nikkyo Niwano passed away on October 4, 1999. This anniversary reminds members of his dedication to the salvation of humanity and the achievement of world peace. They reflect on and praise his virtues and express their gratitude to him through their activities for peace and the public welfare.
First Sunday in October Oeshiki and One-Vehicle Festival On this occasion, members recall the blessings they have received through the teachings of the distinguished priest Nichiren and Founder Niwano. Thanks to the inheritance of the Dharma from Shakyamuni to Nichiren, then to Founder Niwano, members are able to recognize the essential meaning of life and thus achieve true happiness.
October 13 Religious Service for the Priest Nichiren The Japanese priest Nichiren studied and practiced the teachings of the Lotus Sutra in the thirteenth century. His religious practice and dissemination activity enabled later Buddhists to understand and practice the teachings of the Lotus Sutra with less difficulty. Through this occasion, members indicate their gratitude to him and remember his great virtues and achievements.
November 15 Founder Niwano's Birth Founder Nikkyo Niwano was born on November 15, 1906. His birth and life enabled innumerable people to become aware of the true purpose of life and the way to attain the ideal human state. To reciprocate his compassion, members renew their vow to practice the teachings that Founder Niwano left for them.
December 8 Shakyamuni's Attainment of Buddhahood Shakyamuni left his wife and son and gave up his royal position as Prince Siddartha in order to discover through religious discipline the causes of human suffering inherent in existence, old age, illness, and death. After six years of religious discipline he finally attained enlightenment at dawn on December 8, according to tradition. On this day, Buddhists hold celebrations to give thanks for and to renew their devotion to Shakyamuni's enlightenment.

 

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