Kendo’s Healing Blog Message for August

This message was posted in Kendo’s Healing Blog for August. Its theme is the Buddhist “Obon” festival, held every August throughout Japan – enjoy!

As the Obon festival is celebrated every August in Japan, it’s appropriate that it’s re-visited here in Kendo’s Healing Blog, considered this year with some reflections from a different perspective.

Kendo points out that the fundamental Buddhist consideration regarding Obon is the return to the earthly plane of the souls of our ancestors, and the feeling that we may once more be close to them and feel their wisdom and influence. In Japan, witnessing the ways in which people relate to their ancestors during Obon can be both surprising and delightful – there is a typically Japanese reverence towards and respect for the ancestors (filial piety – remember your Bushido!), but they are also told the family’s news in a familiar and matter-of-fact way, as if they were still actually physically present, and offering opinions.

This latter aspect is very healthy, as it allows the supportive dynamic of the relationship that existed during the relative’s life to continue as if unbroken, and, in a spiritual sense, this really is the case. In the west, there is a tendency to feel that following the “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” ritual, our relatives are somehow out of reach, but spiritually, this is not the case.

There’s no denying that moving on from the sense of loss of a loved one’ passing takes time and requires growth and evolution of the self, but what they still have to give should not be overshadowed by that sense of loss. It’s the right thing to do to see that sense of loss for what it is – a temporary hurt – and allow it to drift away, and to remember instead the enduringly positive things about our departed relatives, considering them to be as dynamic as they ever were, as involved with our lives as they ever were, and for their wisdom and inspiring perspectives to be as available as they ever were.

This Obon, Kendo recommends that we respectfully welcome the souls of our ancestors back to the earth, and then have a good chat with them! This way, they will never actually die, but will continue to inspire and motivate and empower us.

Comments are closed.