Feeding the Hungry Ghosts Ceremony (Sejiki), October 29

The Sejiki Ceremony will take place on Saturday evening, October 29, at 7:00, followed by refreshments. Children are welcome and welcome to wear costumes. It would be helpful if you can bring refreshments.

“Segaki” is a Japanese word meaning “feeding the hungry ghosts.” Hungry ghosts are depicted as beings with very large stomachs swollen from malnutrition, who have the tiniest of throats, and who are always hungry. They are symbolic of the state of mind which is never satisfied with who we are or what we have. In the ceremony we call forth hungry ghosts and beings who are stuck in intermediary states, as well the dark, unknown regions of our own psyches, bringing them into the light. We offer them the nourishment of Dharma with the hope of satisfying and releasing them.

The Sejiki Ceremony also has the feeling of a universal memorial service. In addition to releasing the spirits of the departed, the ceremony is intended to resolve our karmic relationships with the deceased. During the ceremony, the names of those for whom we have performed memorial services during the past year will be read. If you would like the name of a friend or relative, or other being, read during the service, please give it to Jakuko Mo Ferrell or Josho Sensei no later than the day before the ceremony. As part of the feeling of Sejiki, we will also do a food drive for the IFC pantry. Please bring non-perishable goods with you, if you can.

Buddha’s Enlightenment Ceremony, December 18, 2012

On Sunday morning, December 18, we will have our children’s schedule starting for check-in at 8:50 a.m. as usual.  Instead of ending at our normal time, we transition to the zendo at about 10:30 for a special ceremony.

We will commemorate Buddha’s Enlightenment at 10:30 a.m. with a short talk in the main zendo directed to the kids. The talk will be followed by a candle lighting and special service. There is a ceremony featuring chanting of the heart sutra while we circumambulate the altar and the children scatter dried flower petals along our path.  At the end of service, the kids will be given a gift of incense and a candle.

Refreshments will follow the service. Everyone is welcome. Please bring refreshments if you can.

Buddha’s Birthday, TBD (usually around the end of April)

On this occasion we have an outdoor ceremony, weather permitting, Prior to that the children decorate the pagoda for the altar with flowers and have decorated the birthday cakes for the celebration.  Following the usual program the children join the adults in the zendo for a short dharma talk, and then gather out in from to start the ceremony with a procession along the meditation path ending in back of the zendo where a special altar is set up with a flower covered pagoda with a statue of the baby Buddha.  There is a special offering of flowers and other items including birthday cake to the Buddha, followed by a ceremony with chanting and bathing of the baby Buddha statue and incense offering.  At the end the children process away along the path they came by while the remaining adults complete the service.  Everyone is reunited after a short time at the start of our annual potluck luncheon that follows.  Please plan to bring something to share for the vegetarian potluck.