Vol. XLX, No. 6                         June 2004

A mono-purpose Obon

In an age of multi-purpose, 3-in-one, convenience-is-best living, Senshin Temple would like to maintain
its traditional commitment and support for truth/beauty-wisdom/compassion and ones connection with it.
Because Bon Odori is a part of the Gathering of Joy religious festival, it is not called “Ondo” a euphemism
created by non-Buddhist Japanese Americans. In Japanese Ondo does not mean a dance. It means to take the
lead and refers to someone taking the lead in a song, a chant, or a cheer. It is also a type of song in which there
is a lead singer and a small number of back-up singers. This Ondo song is the most common form of Bon Odori
music. Japanese-Americans who were not familiar with the term, assumed that Ondo must mean dance since so
many of the Bon Odori dance songs ended in the word Ondo
.
Bon Odori as a religious dance means to dance joyfully in memory of our ancestors, and to dance
joyfully means to dance without ego-calculation
Where self is, Truth cannot be; yet when Truth comes, self will disappear.
Therefore let the mind rest in the truth; propagate the Truth, put your
Whole will into it, and let it spread. In the Truth, one lives forever. Self
Is death and Truth is life. The cleaving to self is a perpetual dying, while
moving in the Truth is partaking of Nirvana.
Unlike “fun”, “Joy” is not something one creates. Joy is a discovery, fun is a futile attempt to create joy.
When you dance, pay attention to the dance and all who dance with you, forgetting the self. The dance spreads
in ever expanding circles, including Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, humans, animals, plants, demons, goblins and fleas.
It is the gathering of Joy.

For this purpose, no solicitations, passing out of pamphlets, PR flyers, etc. are allowed. You would not
pass out flyers at your parents memorial service – and Bon Odori is a joyous memorial service for the universe.

Gassho,
Rev. Mas