Friends of Amida-shu

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Reposting Item by Elja Stoel: Ancestor Ceremony

SUNDAY 27 Mar ~ An Omen from the Ancestor

Original can be seen at

Yesterday was already completely in the spirit of today. Yesterday morning I started by making flower pieces for the shrine hall and in the afternoon we were all working in the hall, cleaning carpets, moving furniture and arranging the different shrines. We made a special altar for the memorial of the spiritual ancestors of the Amida Order: Sensei Gisho Saiko in the middle, Reverend Gyomay Kubose on one side and Reverend Amrita Dhammika on the other. After a couple of hours the meditation hall looked beautiful.

Buns and Eggs

Together we rehearsed the new ceremony David had designed especially for this memorial. Adam baked three buns as offerings together with three cooked eggs. After diner I prepared our Easter lunch ready for the following day with Annette. I made carrot soup and a courgette pie. It was very nice to work all together to make everything ready for the big day

Three Pureland Priests

This morning it was cold, but sunny. Annette arrived 15 minutes before 10am. Before we started the ceremony I lit all the candles on the several shrines and we put the offerings on the altar for the memorial service. I felt moved by the sight of our altar. It had quite a strong radiance. We had a nice ceremony in the shrine hall. Adam was the bell master and I did the mokujo at the beginning and the drum during the litany. At the end of the ceremony David talked about the importance of the occasion, the influence of these three Pureland priests upon the formation, establishment and inspiration of the order. He told some personal memories about all the three ancestors. It was nice to know that other sangha groups were doing the same ceremony in other parts of the world today too.

Candle in the Wind

As David was talking there was quite a lot of wind in the hall. The candles on the ancestor shrine were all shaking. In fact, the one on each side blew out, leaving only the candle for Gisho Saiko burning. David said that this was an omen that Saiko Sensei is still watching over us. Saiko Sensei wanted us to bring the Pureland teaching to the West and he is still with us.

After the ceremony we all had the lunch outside in the sunshine. It was a happy day.

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