On Saturday, July 13 at 8:00 pm in the temple parking lot, the chochin lanterns will hang above our temple parking lot. The cars will be gone, replaced with a ring of chairs, a stage for a taiko drum. And as nighttime falls, we will fill the lot to dance Japanese folk dances and honor loved ones who have passed before us. It’s the Bon Odori, celebrating Obon, one of the most colorful of the Buddhist observances which dates back 1500 years.

Everyone is welcome to dance at the festival. Although you don’t need to know the dances to participate, anyone wishing to learn them before the festival can attend open practices led by the MBT Minyo group (dates are posted below and on our calendar).

Its origin is linked to the Ullambana-sutra that tells the story of Mogallana, one of the great disciples of the Buddha. In this story, Mogallana sees his departed mother suffering in the fiery domain of the Hungry Devils, a domain where hunger and thirst know no bounds.

Everything that is touched immediately bursts into flames.

Grieving at what he sees, he attempts to relieve her suffering but his attempts to relieve her suffering are futile. In desperation, he goes to the Buddha and the All Compassionate One shows him the way.

Following the path shown him, he finally succeeds. He and his friends rejoice, expressing their joy and gratitude with music and dancing.

The Bon Odori is symbolic of that occasion. It is a time of rejoicing and expressing gratitude in the same manner as did Mogallana and his friends. This is the tradition of the Obon.

Please join us for Bon Odori and Obon Service. If you have any questions contact us at 312.943.7801 or office@mbtchicago.org

Obon dancing practice schedule – everyone is welcome:

Where: MBT Social Hall

July 1 – 7:30 to 8:30 pm
July 3 – 7:30 to 8:30 pm
July 5 – 7:30 to 8:30 pm
July 9 – 7:30 to 8:30 pm
July 11 – 7:30 to 8:30 pm

There is no cost or registration – just show up!

Bon Odori – July 13:

Bon Odori is held on Saturday, July 13 in our temple parking lot starting at 8:00 pm

Obon Service – July 14:

Obon Service is held on Sunday July 14 at 10:30 am. We hope to see you there!

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