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Bon Odori | part 1

History of BON ODORI..

Bon Odori is a Japanese Buddhist Folk Dance performed outdoors and danced in concentric circle around a raised platform called a Yagura. Odori means dance and Bon is the abbreviated name of a Buddhist text, the Ullambana Sutra, whose Japanese pronunciation is Urabon, shortened to Bon.

The sutra tells the story of a Monk called Mokuren (known as Mogallana in Pali), who in meditation saw his deceased mother suffering of starvation in the Hell of Hungry Ghosts, where any food she touched burst into flames. Mokuren appealed to Shakyamuni Buddha to save his mother from her fate. Shakyamuni instructed Mokuren that in order to overcome his mother's selfish past life karma, he should make offerings of food from land and sea to his fellow monks at the end of their 90-day retreat which ended in mid-July. Upon following Shakyamuni's instructions, Mokuren danced for joy when his mother and seven generations of his ancestors were freed from their suffering.

This story gradually developed into a major memorial festival for one's ancestors, and took root in many forms in Mahayana Buddhist countries, especially in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. The Obon festival in Japan has been held annually since 657 A.D. In the Jodo Shinshu sect, it is called Kangi-E, or Gathering of Joy, as established by Monshu Myonyo Shonin.

Though a memorial observance, there is a festive mood during Obon. Obon is a time to remember and honor all those who have passed on before us. It is a time to appreciate all that they have done for us and to recognize the continuation of the influence of their deeds upon our lives. Obon is also a time of self-reflection; the joy one feels is not from the happiness of getting what you desire, but the joy of being shown the truth -- the joy of awareness. "Obon reminds us to love and care for our parents. It also encourages the practice of selfless giving (dana) not only to family and friends, but to all beings."

The first Bon Odori in the United States was performed in Hawaii in 1910. Twenty years later, the Jodo Shinshu priest Reverend Yoshio Iwanaga introduced the odori to temples in California, Oregon, Washington and Canada. The first organized Bon Odori in the Continental United States was held in the auditorium of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco in 1931. The odori has become a popular annual event at practically all BCA Buddhist temples in the United States.

It was superb, was there about 4.30pm and we entered in at 5pm sharp. ( we = me, Ai Lin and gang and JapaneseCulturalSociety peep. )

Event flow, 19.00: opening- drum performance, 19.15: cultural dance part 1, 19.45: guest performance, 20.00 cultural dance part 2, 20.30: guest performance, 20.45: cultural dance part 3, 21.15: closing ..
The first thing i got was my Unagi !! as soon as i got it, the rest of the shop started to filled with people.. Good enough i got my Unagi .. if not have to Q-up like crazy .. then join the dance as soon as it started .. had fun taking pictures n cam whoring with Japanese kids. one thing i learn, as event like this i definitely need to learn a bit of Japanese just to get the picture of them in Yogata. To be polite :) this is what suppose to say " こんにちは、iはあなたの映像を撮ることができる " - can i take your picture ? and "ありがとう" - thank you ! to the following pic are some snaps i did !! :) Enjoy ...

To: Francis & Louisa, Here is the pic. me will past you a link without the water mark on the pic, for you to keep. Nice meeting you guys and will keep in touch on msn sumday :)

Comments (3)


lol....y is every1 i noe so enthusiastic bout japanese culture...?i guess u'd be more starstruck if u were here....btw,who taught u jpnese?

influence of culture, dont forget oso probly some malaysian got japanese blood ? from the old old days of war ? (something within related?) me learn japanese? wahahaha no one le .. i just translate it use alta babel la :P:P