You are invited to attend the Autumn Equinox service at Shikan Do, in Hythe, Hampshire. The service starts at 7pm sharp with a short traditional liturgy followed by meditation.
Higan 彼岸 means ‘the other shore’, which connects with the Sanskrit word ‘Paramita’. It is celebrated twice a year at the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes when the length of the day and night are equal, not only symbolising the transition of the seasons, but also the transition between life and death. The sun rises exactly in the East and sets exactly in the West, the direction of Amitabha’s Pureland (Gokuraku Jodo). For this reason, Ohigan is a time to remember and reflect on lost loved ones, those who have passed ‘to the other shore’. Japanese families will go together to the tombs of their ancestors to clean, restore, and offer flowers, incense and chant sutras.
Ohigan is also a time to reflect on our lives and our own mortality. Are we making the most of every moment? Are we practicing to our full capabilities? ‘Paramita’ is also translated as ‘Perfections’, as in the 6 Perfections of a Bodhisattva (in Mahayana Buddhism), so Ohigan is a time to reflect on the 6 Perfections and arduously put them into practice.
The 6 Perfections are:-
1. Dāna pāramitā: generosity, giving of oneself
2. Śīla pāramitā : virtue, morality, discipline, proper conduct
3. Kṣānti (kshanti) pāramitā : patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
4. Vīrya pāramitā : energy, diligence, vigor, effort
5. Dhyāna pāramitā : one-pointed concentration, contemplation
6. Prajñā pāramitā : wisdom, insight
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