Ullambana Festival


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Everything about Ullambana Festival

Why is this day called Buddha's Joyous Day?

Sangha Day, or the Buddha's joyful day, is another term for Ullambana Festival. As the summer retreat of the Sangha community came to an end, this day marks the completion of their retreat. Keeping the Sangha in proper condition is essential to following the Buddha's teachings of filial piety. By doing so, the Sangha can practice without obstacles and cultivate merits for ourselves and our ancestors.

Origin of Buddha's Joyous Day

In addition to Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, and Buddha Day, Vesak is a Buddhist and Hindu holiday. Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as Buddha, was born, enlightened, and died on this day. All of these critical events occurred throughout his life on the same day. As per the lunar calendar, the holiday occurs around the first full moon in May. The Buddhist culture is diverse. However, so different traditions celebrate Vesak on other dates.
Buddhist laity participates in a Sangha Offering Ceremony as part of the Ullambana ceremony to respect Buddha and the Sangha.
During the lifetime of Maudgalyayana, the chief pupil of Sakyamuni Buddha, when his mother was suffering in the realm of hungry ghosts, the Ascended Master told him that the only way to alleviate his mother's suffering was through the cultivation of meritorious virtues by monastics in all directions.
All sentient beings can benefit from the practice of Sangha offering because all sentient beings can be transformed and delivered by providing food and fruits in the name of the Buddha's parents from the previous seven lifetimes along with his present parents.
The living could enjoy a life of abundance, good fortune, and longevity through the merits acquired by the deceased. All Buddhists can deliver their parents from the sufferings of the three suffering realms by practicing the Ullambana Sangha Offering.

The story of the Maudgalyayana saving his mother

According to the story in India, the Ullambana Festival originates from the Buddhist tradition. Maudgalyayana, suffering in the Hungry Ghosts' lower realm, is taught how to help her mother by the Buddha in the Ullambana Sutra.
A well-to-do merchant, Maudgalyayana had given up his trade to become the Buddha's foremost disciple.
 His parents seemed to have disappeared after he attained arhatship, so he wondered what had happened to them. In heaven, he found his father after traveling over the Buddhist universe. The Realm of Hungry Ghosts is considered a lower realm where his mother was reborn. In the form of a hungry ghost, his mother appeared to him. A thin throat prevented her from eating, but a fat stomach caused her to be constantly hungry.
As a result of the money, he had left her, his mother had grown greedy. In response to his instruction, she withheld her kindness and financial support from the Buddhist monks who met her. Her rebirth into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts was due to this reason.
As instructed by the Buddha, Maudgalyayana should offer Pravarana food to the virtuous Sangha assembly on the last day of the rainy season (summer) retreat.
 Maudgalyayana 's mother has been liberated from hell thanks to the merit gained from the dana. Throughout Asia, Maudgalyayana still practices the same ritual Buddha asked her to perform.

How is Ullambana celebrated?

As part of the celebration, Buddhists clean their homes, arrange their homes for prayer, study the Ovadia Patimokkha, go to the temple, and have a candlelight procession.

What is the Holy Ghost Festival in Buddhism?

Chinese people celebrate the dead on their special day, like people worldwide. Hungry Ghost Festival is a Chinese holiday devoted to caring for the dead.
The festival is celebrated mainly by Taoists and Buddhists in the seventh lunar month. In late August or early September, this day usually falls.
Every cultural event has a history that goes back thousands of years. Buddhism's story revolves around a Buddhist monk who asks the Buddha for help after death to help his mother. According to legend, the monk's mother became a hungry wandering ghost after she passed away. Her ghostly state prevented her from eating anything the monk offered her.
When he saw that his mother could not find peace and rest in the afterlife, the monk prayed to Buddha for assistance. Instead of providing his mother food, Buddha informs the monks he can assist her by giving them new robes and food. His mother was reborn as a human after the monks prayed for her, ending her hunger.
The festival is one of many traditional Chinese celebrations honoring ancestors. Several others are celebrated as well as the Spring Festival, the Qingming Festival, and the Double Ninth Festival. Jiangxi Province and Hunan Province give more importance to the Hungry Ghost Festival than the Qingming Festival and the Double Ninth Festival.
Aside from honoring deceased family members, the festival aims to ward off or appease evil spirits. These ceremonies involve placing the family's ancestral tablets on a table, burning incense, and preparing food three times.
Usually, the main ceremony takes place at dusk. It is common for people to burn incense near ancestral family tablets, paintings, and photographs. These hungry ghosts usually receive a feast. The people gather around a table, eating food and kowtowing before the memorial tablets to report their behavior and ask for blessings or punishments from their ancestors. On this night, people may also enjoy a feast themselves and keep a place at the table open for ancestors who have passed away.

Why do we celebrate Ullambana Festival?

In addition to respecting, one's ancestors, Ullambana is observed with great respect for one's living parents. There is not only reverence for deceased ancestors but also living parents and elders. Buddhists respect their parents and ancestors as a part of this ritual.
People perform age-old rituals, pray, and venerate their ancestors to liberate the suffering souls of their deceased ancestors. In celebrating the holiday, Buddhists affirm their respect for elders.
The Ullambana ritual purges the souls of one's ancestors and parents from the present life and seven previous lives. During Ullambana rituals, devotees bestow a hundred years of life on their present living parents without sickness, worry, or suffering, according to Gautam Buddha. Health, happiness, and prosperity are also bestowed on the performers by their ancestors' liberated souls.

FAQs

What countries celebrate Ullambana Festival?

Various countries observe this festival, including India, Japan, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. During this month, Buddhists believe the gates of hell are opened, allowing the ancestors to descend and accept their descendants' offerings.

How long is Ullambana Festival?

Buddhists celebrate the festival for fifteen days in the seventh month.
Known as the "Ghost Festival," Ullambana Festival takes place on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. Family members are likely to get ill, argue, and experience conflicts during the month of lunar July. Many days are cloudy and rainy, so even the weather isn't as good. Before the 7th Lunar Month, many spirits are released from the Underworld into the human world to collect their karmic debts. 
It is customary for the spirits to return to the Underworld on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. 
By performing recitations for our deceased relatives or karmic creditors on this particular day, we can respectfully bid them farewell.
Our spirits will become unhappy or harbor hatred when we don't repay enough karmic debts or don't respectfully bid them farewell during this period. The Underworld offers the possibility of returning to the human world once the dead have returned to the Underworld. Consequently, some people have karmic debts that are constantly owed to them.

What should you not do at the Ullambana Festival?

At the cemetery (Graveyard), oil lamps should not be lit. The only requirement is to light red candles, but this is optional.

What's the virtue of lighting lotus lamps?

Brightening the path of someone else will also brighten your own.

Why did the Buddha rejoice?

According to Buddhism, happiness is attaining a clear understanding of reality without being modified by the mental constructs we place upon it. To find authentic happiness, one must possess an exceptionally healthy state of mind that underlies and embraces all emotional states, joys, and sorrows in equal measure. Genuine happiness cannot simply be found or discovered. To achieve happiness, one must eradicate ignorance and purge their mind of afflictive emotions, such as hatred and compulsive desire.

Why rejoicing is important?

• It requires no special equipment or physical effort and is entirely free.
• Creating extensive merit in a short time and with little effort is achieved by rejoicing: it is the fastest way to achieve success. A significant loss would be not practicing rejoicing while we have such an opportunity.
• Taking joy in the good qualities and successes enables us to do extensive work for others and gain those qualities ourselves.
• A genuine sense of happiness and joy in the heart that appreciates one's and others' qualities is the essence of this practice.
• The danger of not rejoicing in our virtues is that we can quickly become discouraged, focusing on our faults instead of enjoying what we accomplish.
• It is possible to become jealous and angry if we do not rejoice in the happiness of others.
• It eliminates self-importance, jealousy, pride, and competitiveness. 
• A joyous celebration of other people's good qualities and success brings us closer to them and opens our hearts with joy, while jealousy separates us and creates obstacles.

How can we get the Buddha's light and make ourselves, our family members, and even our ancestors rejoice?

Buddhists believe meditation, spiritual and physical labor, and good behavior are pathways to enlightenment and rejoice.

What do people do at Ullambana Festival?

It is the day when family members pay tribute to their deceased relatives by praying, offering food, and drinking to them. They also burn joss paper to comfort themselves in the afterlife. Paper houses, cars, servants, and televisions are burned to please the ghosts.