November 18th was our Eitaikyo Service. Following is the explanation that was on our Eitaikyo Service program.
"In the early 1900s, Rev.Hoshin Fujii of Seattle Buddhist Temple decided to visit the more remote areas such as Idaho, Montana and the eastern parts of Washington and Oregon to visit Japanese who were working on the railroads and in logging camps. Here and there he came across gravestones inscribed with Japanese names. There were mainly young men who had passed away far from their homeland without family or friends to mourn or remember them. Upon seeing these lonely graves, Rev.Fujii felt much compassion for them, so upon returning home, he held a memorial service in their honor. This was the first Muenhoyo. "Muen" means those without families and "hoyo" is a memorial service.
Today, Muenhoyo is known as Eitaikyo (Perpetual Memorial Service) and is commemorated in all the Northwest temples. It has become a memorial service in honor of all who have passed away.
We may ask, "Why are memorial services so important to Buddhists?" The Japanese word "on" means both kindness and a debt of gratitude, and it is an important part of Jodoshinshu tradition. Remembering the kindness of those who worked and struggled before us so that we may reap the benefit, we are filled with a sense of deep gratitude. In "Ondokusan", Shinran wrote, "The gratitude we owe our spiritual teachers, repay we must though our bones be crushed" ... Namo Amida Butsu "
Some scenes from today's service...