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  • O-Bon The Spirit Festival - Portland Japanese Garden: August 12, 2015

Author Topic: 8-12-15 O-Bon The Spirit Festival - Portland Japanese Garden  (Read 1022 times)

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O-BON, THE SPIRIT FESTIVAL
August 12, 2015
Admission Gate & Upper Pond
8-9:30pm

Member only event
Tickets required; space is limited.
Tickets Available July 21.

O-Bon is a Buddhist memorial festival that dates back more than a thousand years. Over a three-day period in mid-summer, families gather to pray for the spirits of their ancestors. It is an annual reminder of the importance of family ties, of respect for those who have gone before, and of the brevity and preciousness of our lives together.

Members are invited to participate in Bon Odori led by Ms. Sahomi Tachibana, the most accomplished traditional Japanese dancer performing outside of Japan, a longtime Portland resident and friend of the Portland Japanese Garden. Born April 6, 1924, Ms. Tachibana was sent from Japan when she was just 11 years old. She returned in 1941 at the outbreak of WW II. In 1942, while interned at Tulelake War Relocation Center, she experienced Bon Odori in a way one can hardly imagine – in the internment camp behind barbed wire. Her fascinating career has taken her to the Metropolitan Opera as Artistic Director, on Broadway in A Majority of One, as a dance soloist with major professional orchestras, and more including the Oregon Buddhist Temple where she is engaged in their cultural activities. She is active to this day, teaching new dances to her students every year.

Following the dance outside the Garden’s admission gate, take part in Toro Nagashi, which literally means “lantern floating” and refers to the practice of floating lanterns on the water at O-Bon to light the way home to the heavens for the spirits of ancestors who are believed to visit their families at this time of year.

We are honored to have Reverend Zuigaku Kodachi lead the solemn Buddhist chanting at this year’s Lantern Festival. Reverend Kodachi is a professor emeritus of Japanese language and literature at Lewis & Clark College where he was responsible for building and growing Lewis & Clark’s Japanese language program. He recieved an Imperial Japanese Decoration in 2008 in honor of more than 40 years of work building cultural bridges between the United States and Japan.

Guests are welcome to a lantern for someone you have loved and watch as the it flickers across the Garden’s Upper Pond in memory of departed friends and family, and listen to the words of the elegant Myohorengekyo—the Lotus Sutra which comforts and encourages us all with a message of hope for the troubled spirits of our times. As a part of the ceremony, Reverend Kodachi will read the names of friends and relatives of Garden members who passed away in the previous year.

No flash photography or tripods, please.