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Religious Observances in Jodo Shinshu

Here is a list and explanation of the Religious observances in Jodo Shinshu Honganji-ha


SHUSHO-YE (New Year's Day service) 1st January
The New Years Day service is called Shusho-ye, which means a religious gathering to reflect upon and correct our past mistakes and look forward to a better life in the new year. Reflection, hope and resolution are some of the basic elements of an active religious life. Every Buddhist, including children can experience this formalized type of thought at the New Years Day service with participation

HO-ONKO (Shinran Shonin's Memorial Day) 16th January
This service takes place on the 16th of January, the day Shinran Shonin passed away. His followers gather to express their appreciation and thanksgiving for his efforts in making in possible for us to receive the Love and Mercy of Amida Buddha. In the Hongwanji temple in Kyoto the Ho-onko services are held for one week from 9th January through the 16th. Special services for the families before the family altars may also be held besides those held at the temples.

NEHAN-YE (Nirvana Day) 15th February
On 15th February, Sakyamuni Buddha passed into Pari-nirvana. To remind us of His noble teachings and paying our tribute and follow the way that He has laid down for us, the Nehan-ye service is held. The followers of Jodo Shinshu revere Sakyamuni Buddha because He is the manifestation of Amida Buddha on this earth.

HIGAN-YE (Spring and Autumn Equinox)
Higan means The Other Shore. It is an abbreviated form of O-higan, meaning reaching the other shore (of Enlightenment). It is a service of reflection and thanksgiving to our ancestors. Our forefathers thought it was so important, that they held this service twice annually, resulting in the Spring and Autumn equinoxes.

HANAMATSURI (The Birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha) 8th April
The birth of Sakyamuni Buddha is celebrated on 8th April, with the Hanamido (the flower altar) decorated with beautiful flowers in the center of which, a statue of the infant Buddha is placed. This depicts and reminds us that it is in the flower garden of Lumbini Garden that the Buddha was born 2500 years ago. Special services for the dedication of children to the Sangha are also held on this day.

RIKYOKAISHU-YE (Anniversary of the Founding of Jodo Shinshu) 15th April
This day commemorates the day that Shinran Shonin finished the first draft of his most important work the book of Teaching, Practice, Faith and Attainment or Kyogyoshinsho on 15th April 1224. Jodo Shinshu Buddhists normally regard this day as the founding day for our denomination.

GOTAN-YE (The birthday of Shinran Shonin) 21st May
The birth of the Founder of Jodo Shinshu is commemorated annually on 21st May as an expression of joy and happiness. Shinran Shonin was born at Hino, a few miles southeast of Kyoto on 21st May 1173.

O-BON-YE (Ullambana service) - 15th July/15th August
The O-Bon-ye service is a Buddhist Memorial Day for those who have departed before us and is observed on either 15th July or 15th August. It is an occasion for us to remember our ancestors and dearly departed ones and to thank them for their deeds.

JODO-YE (Bodhi Day service) - 8th December
The service is held on 8th December to commemorate the day of the Buddhas Enlightenment and is called the Bodhi Day. This is the day Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained Enlightenment and became the Buddha, the Awakened One. Therefore this day signifies the dawn of mans universal emancipation from suffering and ignorance.

JOYA-YE (Year End service) 31st December
This service is held at all temples on New Years Eve when the old year is coming to an end and to express our thanksgiving for Amida Buddha's guidance throughout the past year.


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