Ohigan and Crossing Over

Hi guys,

I had some free time recently and put together a small video about what Ohigan means and how it fits into Buddhist themes in general:

It is pretty short but talks about Shan-tao’s famous Parable of the Two Rivers among other things. Instead of just talking into a camera, I thought it would be more fun to use “slides”. It’s pretty low-tech, though.

Enjoy and Happy Ohigan!

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Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

4 thoughts on “Ohigan and Crossing Over”

  1. Pretty short and simple. I was particularly interested in the practices of moral behavior and generosity. As these seem to point to social interaction that is positive. It seems that the other elements of “This side” were not reflective of the small joys that we get out of this life on a daily basis if we look for them. I wouldn’t want to argue that the other side is better, but I feel that some of my feelings of greatest satisfaction came from achievements of working together to do something in the society. Of course if I worried about whether they would last or not, that would make me unhappy, but if I focused on the achievement of what I did, in my job, there were times of satisfaction. Maybe not “greatest” satisfaction, but nonetheless, satisfaction of completing a step in an ongoing task. And this is what I thought Buddhism emphasized (until now that I have seen your 2 videos), the present moment, without worrying about ohigan as a future escape to nirvana. that might or might not come.

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  2. Oh, Doug, I mentioned that I wished to bring my inisights of personal study of the Holy Quran into my comments, BUT, I am still devoting ALL my time to listening to BBC news, preparing for my classes and studying 漢字。 2042 is a pretty vast wilderness.

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  3. Hello,

    Apologies for the late reply. 🙂

    I definitely agree that there are many small joys in life (I am happily married and a father of two wonderful children), and the Buddha would not have disagreed, I believe. However, he also warned that there is no *lasting* refuge. Eventually, I must be separated from my wife and children. I have to grow old and die someday, etc. This is a fundamental part of life. A person has to face it or run away from it. That is their personal choice to make. One should not dwell on this (that would be ironically self-centered), but it’s good to acknowledge one’s mortality. 🙂 A lot of people try to ignore it until it is too late, and then are filled with regret when it comes.

    But yes, the Buddha *also* taught the importance of being “alert” or “mindful” to what you are doing right now in the present moment. The reason is to maintain a calm, peaceful and collected mind, even when life has many ups and downs (since there is no lasting refuge). It is a wonderful tool for keeping the mind balanced, and also gives one insight into their own mind and the world around them. Thus, being alert and mindful helps one progress along the Buddhist path in the long-run, but in the short-run it also brings peace.

    There is a lot of good we can accomplish in this world when we work together, but it’s important to have a good sense of “direction”. If one works for one’s personal joy, they will never find lasting satisfaction. If they work of the joy of others, they will find more joy in return, because we are not separate from others. Also, this is why the Pure Land is very useful in Buddhism: it is a place where one can become a bodhisattva or buddha, and come back to help others in the future.

    P.S. Best of luck in your kanji and Quranic studies!

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