Ullambana Prayers in Kechara House 2016

29 August 2016 - 7:31pm Comments Off

This year’s Ullambana prayers were held on 15 August (English) and 17 August (Chinese) at Kechara House, Petaling Jaya. This annual event allows Kecharians and friends to perform prayers for the good rebirth of their dearly departed as well as to relieve wandering spirits of their sufferings. During this period, it is auspicious for relatives of the deceased to make as much offerings as possible to temples, Dharma institutions and the Sangha to gain vast amounts of merits for their dearly departed.

A total of 172 people attended this year’s Ullambana event. The activities commemorating this day included Protector pujas, and the offering of lights, flowers and special dedication tablets. Among these offerings, the most popular was the offering of lights. Many participants took advantage of the promotion packages available to make dedications to their loved ones by sponsoring lights and pujas for various purposes such as health, protection and general blessings for the whole family. As a token of appreciation to the sponsors, Kechara House also offered complimentary light offerings.

The Ullambana Festival’s origin can be traced back to the story of one of Buddha’s disciples, Maudgalyayana. According to the Ullambana Sutra, Maudgalyayana was a Brahmin youth who became one of Buddha’s chief disciples. After he attained arhatship, he wondered what happened to his deceased parents. With his clairvoyance, he discovered that his father was in a God realm but his mother had been reborn in the Hungry Ghost realm. His mother had been greedy with the money that he left her. He had instructed her to feed any monk who came her way but she did not do so. As a result, she was born in the lower realms. In his compassion, Maugalyayana decided to help his mother and went to the Buddha to seek for advice. The Buddha instructed Maudgalyayana to feed the deceased and recite mantras for them. This was how the practice of feeding hungry ghosts to ease their suffering originated.

Maugalyayana also asked the Buddha for advice on how to help his mother gain a human rebirth. After the traditional summer retreat, on the 14th day of the 7th lunar month, the Buddha established Ullambana. On this day, Maudgalyayana was to offer food and robes to 500 monks. Through the merits created, Maugalyayana’s mother finally gained a human rebirth.

Therefore, on this day, we can also offer robes to the Sangha to create merits for our loved ones to have a human rebirth. Besides offering robes, we can also make offerings of light. Light offerings have many benefits, one of which is a rebirth in the higher realms. In the Tune of Brahma Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha mentioned the 10 benefits of offering light:

  1. One becomes like the light of the world
  2. One achieves clairvoyance of the pure eye as a human
  3. One achieves the Deva’s eye
  4. One receives the wisdom to discriminate virtue from non-virtue
  5. One is able to eliminate the concept of inherent existence
  6. One receives the illumination of wisdom
  7. One is reborn as a human or deva
  8. One receives wealth of great enjoyment
  9. One quickly becomes liberated
  10. One quickly attains enlightenment

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