|BERKELEY BUDDHIST TEMPLE|
What? And Why Do We Do That?
What's with the wacky counting system for Hoji (hoe-jee) memorial
For hundreds of years, this counting system has been somewhat
confusing for members and it must be even more so for BCA members who come
from non-Japanese backgrounds. Currently we often hear people refer to the time
period as "cycles" and not "years."
For instance, if a person died in January of 2007, then the first cycle is completed in
January of 2008. Then the second cycle runs from January 2008 to January 2009, and
then the third cycle starts in January 2009. We would usually observe the "First Year"
Memorial which would be held around January 2008, and then a "Third Year"
memorial would be held around January 2009 since it marks the beginning of the third
cycle. After the third year memorial, the next memorial would usually be the Seventh
year memorial, which would fall around January 2013.
Traditionally, within the BCA temples, families and loved ones will observe the
following memorial services for a deceased loved one: 7th Day, 49th Day, 1 Year, 3rd
Year, 7th Year, 13th Year, 17th Year, 25th Year, 33rd Year, 50th Year. But members are
free to observe a memorial service whenever they wish. For us in the Shin tradition,
we must keep in mind that every opportunity to gather together is an opportunity to
hear and listen to the Dharma. Services and observances can be done at the temple,
at home or any other appropriate location.
So, then if we have these set "memorial service" observances, what is the
"Shotsuki Hoyo" (Show-tsoo-key ho-yo)?
The Shotsuki Hoyo or Monthly
Memorial service is an annual way of remembering a loved one who died in a certain
month at the temple.
Are there other kinds of religious observances?
In the Shin and Japanese
Buddhist tradition, there are many kinds of observances. Shin Buddhists have
dedication services for new homes, new home altars, new businesses, new business
locations, etc. Special Memorial observances can be held for ancestors or if you are
in a profession that depends on a tool or instrument for your work, you can pay your
respects and gratitude to these objects with a memorial service. In Japan,
seamstresses will have an annual memorial service for broken needles which are the
life line of their profession. Those who study flower arranging (ikebana) will have an
annual memorial service to honor all the flowers that have been used to
create their flower arrangements.
Some Buddhist sects conduct blessings, exorcisms, etc., however, in Shin Buddhism,
we do not practice these traditions as we do not believe in superstitions or depend on
other gods and Buddhas.