Soka Gakkai Conducts Memorial Prayer Meetings
On September 23, 2008, the autumn equinox, Soka Gakkai centers and memorial parks throughout Japan held memorial services to pray for the repose and happiness of deceased family members and friends. According to Buddhism tradition, the autumn equinox is a time to honor the memory of one's ancestors and the deceased.
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda led a solemn prayer service at the Soka Gakkai Headquarters in Shinanomachi, Tokyo. Mr. Ikeda spoke on the significance of the memorial ceremony during the equinoctial week in light of Nichiren Buddhism. Quoting a passage from Nichiren's writings which states one's prayers permeate even the lives of those who are suffering, allowing them to realize their highest potential, he encouraged everyone to achieve fulfilled lives based on their daily practice of Nichiren Buddhism. Soka Gakkai President Minoru Harada attended a service at the Soka Gakkai Chiba Culture Center in Chiba Prefecture.
In August, the Soka Gakkai conducted prayer services during the Obon Festival at its memorial parks in Hokkaido, Mie, Miyazaki, Kagawa, Shizuoka and Gunma Prefectures. In Japan, people traditionally visit their family grave sites to pay their respects during the Obon Festival, usually lasting from August 13 to 16. Thousands of members and their families visited the parks to pay respects to their deceased loved ones.
[Adapted from articles in the August 17 and September 24, 2008 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]