From the City of 10,000 Buddhas website:
Ullambana is the day for helping those beings who are suffering so that they can obtain liberation.
The Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana, one of the great disciples of the Buddha, was foremost in spiritual powers. When he obtained the six spiritual penetrations, he searched for his departed mother. He discovered that she had fallen into the hells. Although the Venerable Maudgalyayana had great spiritual powers, he could not save his mother. Thereupon he knelt before his teacher, the Buddha, and beseeched the World Honored One to help.
The Buddha explained that his mother was suffering in the hells because of her deep offenses and so the Venerable Maudgalyayana must rely on the united strength of the Sangha of the ten directions in order to save his mother.
The Buddha said, “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you should make an offering of the finest vegetarian foods and drinks and offer it to the Buddha and the Sangha. By making this offering, the Way-virtue of the high Sanghans of the ten directions will then be able to save your mother.”
The Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana did as the Buddha had instructed. Due to the strength of the greatly virtuous ones of the ten directions, his mother was reborn in the heavens. Since then, the Ullambana festival has become an annual Buddhist celebration and a day upon which anyone can rescue his or her parents of seven lives past.
The Venerable Master:
“No teaching is apart from Filiality. Apart from filiality, there is no teaching. When the limitless lessons under the sky are summarized, it is just this one lesson. This lesson encompasses limitless learning. Study this lesson to perfection and other lessons will also be completed.” — Master Hsuan Hua
The celebrations begin on the 15th day of the seventh month known as Ghost Day and continue for the next fifteen days. Thus, the seventh month is generally referred to as the Ghost Month in the Chinese tradition.
“Thus I have heard, at one time, the Buddha dwelt at Shravasti in the Garden of the Benefactor of Orphans and the Solitary. Mahamaudgalyayana had just obtained the six penetrations and wished to cross over his father and mother to repay their kindness for raising him. Thus, using his Way Eye, he regarded the world and saw that his deceased mother had been born among the hungry ghosts. Having neither food nor drink, she was but skin and bones.
Mahamaudgalyayana felt deep pity and sadness, filled a bowl with food, and went to provid for his mother. She got the bowl, screened it with her left hand, and with her right hand made a fist of food. But before it entered her mouth, it turned into burning coals which could not be eaten. Mahamaudgalyayana called out and wept sorrowfully, and hastened to return to the Buddy to set forth all of this.”
The Buddha said, “Your mother’s offenses are deep and firmly rooted. You alone do not have enough power. Although your filial sounds move heaven and earth, the heaven spirits, the earth spirits, twisted demons, and those outside the way, Brahmans, and the Four Heavenly King Gods are also without sufficient strength. The awesome spiritual power of the assembled Sangha of the ten directions is necessary for liberation to be attained. I shall now speak a Dharma of rescue which causes all those in difficulty to leave worry and suffering, and to eradicate obstacles from offenses.
Click here to read the rest of the sutra.
2017 – Wednesday, September 6th
The Buddha said:
“If one thus makes offerings to these Pravarana Sanghans, one’s present father and mother, parents of seven generations past, as well as the six kinds of close relatives will escape from the three paths of suffering, and at that time attain release.
Their clothing and food will spontaneously appear. If the parents are still alive, they will have wealth and blessings for a hundred years. Parents of seven generations past will be born in the heavens. Transformationally born, they will independently enter the celestial flower light, and experience limitless bliss.”
The Singapore Sangha is preparing a festival for September 2nd, 2017. You can check it out and if you feel inspired make a donation at any time.
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