A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Higan (彼岸). Buddhist commemoration to 26 September, a national holiday celebrated in Japan for three days before and after the Autumnal Equinox (秋分の日, Shuubun No Hi). Higan is observed by nearly every Buddhist school in Japan, the tradition coming from the mild weather occurring during the time of equinoxes, although the origin of the holiday dates from the time of the Eighth-Century Emperor Shomu. People who normally worked in the fields had more leisure time to evaluate their own practices and to make a renewed effort to follow Buddhism. Nowadays, special services are usually observed in Japanese Buddhist temples and Japanese temples abroad, based on the particular Buddhist tradition or sect of adherents. Harmony and balance are the themes on this day, sutras (ancient texts) are recited and the graves of relatives are visited. The Vernal Equinox (春分の日, Shunbun no Hi) will be celebrated with a similar public holiday on 20 March 2022. Image: sacramentonichirenchurch.org.
Prayer May we reach a world of enlightenment from a world of waver, through Rokuharamitsu-ji by Giving (布施 (Fuse)), Keeping rules (持戒 (Zikai)), Perseverance (忍辱 (Ninniku)), Sincerity Buddhism (精進 (Shojin)), Meditation (禅定 (Zenjo)) and Enthusiasm to attain enlightment 智慧 (Chie)). Svaha
Pitru Paksha (पितृ पक्ष, fortnight of the ancestors, Solah Shraddha, sixteen shraddhas). Sixteen-day ritual to 6 October, when Hindus pay homage to their Pitrs (ancestors), especially through food offerings. Pitru Paksha is considered by Hindus to be inauspicious, given the death rite performed during the ceremony and known as Shraddha or Tarpana. In southern and western India, the ritual begins on the Pratipada first day of the lunar fortnight and ends with the no-moon day Sarvapitri Amavasya (Peddala Amavasya, Mahalaya Amavasya). In most years, the Autumnal Equinox falls within this period as the Sun transitions from the northern to the southern hemispheres. In North India, Nepal and cultures following the purnimanta solar calendar, this period may correspond to the waning fortnight of the lunisolar month of Ashvina. After Pitru Paksha, Devi Paksha dedicated to Goddess Durga begins. Image: horoscope.astrosage.com.
Sukkot (Sukkos, Feast of Tabernacles, Festival of Booths). On 15 to 21 Tishrei (תִּשְׁרֵי) 5782, the first month of the Jewish civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year that starts on 1 Nisan in the Hebrew lunisolar calendar, this Jewish festival starts on the evening of 19 September and ends on the evening of 27 September, Hoshana Rabbah. One of the three pilgrimage festivals mentioned in the Bible, it is celebrated by building a small outdoors hut (succah) in memory of the booths in which the Children of Israel dwelt during their forty years in the wilderness. Insofar as Covid allows, guests are welcomed to eat in the hut each night of the festival, the impermanent, provisional structure reminding them to offer a special welcome to refugees, since their ancestors were once homeless. Sukkot is also a harvest festival, farmers in ancient Israel having made succahs for shade from the sun, and it is a festival of gratitude for the gifts of the soil. Living, eating, and perhaps sleeping in the succah restores the bond with the earth and brings home human frailty in the climate emergency and, with the approach of COP 26 from 31 October and 12 November 2021, nature’s fragility. No work is permitted on 21 or 22 September, but it is permitted on 23 and 24 September and 26 and 27 September with certain restrictions. Image: israelforever.org.