Mililani Hongwanji Bon Dance

About Bon Dance

Date: August 18 & 19, 2023

What is Bon Dance?

The bon dance is also called Obon or Kangi-e (gathering of joy).

As a temple practicing Shin Buddhism, we interpret the purpose of Obon as "...a time to remember and honor all those who have passed on before us. It is a time to appreciate all that they have done for us and to recognize the continuation of their deeds upon our lives. It is also a time to remind ourselves of our own fragile and transient nature of human existence."

(Mililani Hongwanji Membership Handbook)

Photo credit: Rolo Tomasi

The Origins of the
Bon Dance

"It [Obon] is based on the legend of the monk Mogallana's rescue of his mother from the hell of hungry ghosts. The story dramatizes the son's anxiety for his mother's welfare after her death and how it was resolved through Buddhist practice."

"When his mother was released, Mogallana danced for joy. His response is regarded as the origin of the Bon dance."

(Dr. Alfred Bloom, "Obon Festival - Living and Dying in Buddhism")

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