Worshipping Ancestors on Mid-Autumn Festival
In conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate reunion of family and loved ones, Sau Seng Lum Buddhist Temple held a meaningful “Worshipping Ancestors on Mid-Autumn Festival” on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. The chanting was performed by reverends for transfer of merits, may the ancestors be reborn in the Pure Land.
Ancestor worship is the embodiment of filial piety and the foundation of hundred good deeds. While passing on to the next generation the virtue of filial piety and worship of ancestors during festivals, it also educates them to honour their parents and cherish the kindness of their ancestors.
Buddhism emphasizes filial piety and attaches great importance to repaying virtues with kindness, not only to the parents but also to the Triple Gems, teachers, and the kindness of all sentient beings.
Embracing the feeling of remembrance and gratitude, the devotees and the public dedicate the merits and virtue to their ancestors by devoutly chanting and performing good deeds, wishing them to be free from suffering.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is closely related to Buddhism. The 15th day of the 8th lunar month coincides with the full moon and represents the perfect wisdom of Buddha and Bodhisattva. It is also the day of the Candraprabha Bodhisattva Festival in Buddhism.
The Medicine Buddha Sutra says, “In this land dwell two great Bodhisattvas: One is called Suryaprabha (Radiant Sunlight) Bodhisattva and the other Candraprabha (Radiant Moonlight) Bodhisattva. They are the leaders of countless Bodhisattvas.” In the Land of Pure Crystal in The East, namely the Kingdom of Medicine Buddha, both Suryaprabha Bodhisattva and Candraprabha Bodhisattva are the left and right attendants of Medicine Buddha. They assist Medicine Buddha in protecting sentient beings from greed, anger, and delusion and achieve the wholesome dharma.
Many scriptures in the Buddhist sutra have used the full moon as a metaphor for perfection and purity. For example, the Buddha preached Dharma through the extraordinary of the moon in the Candropama Sutra. There is also a verse in the Avatamsaka Sutra (the Flower Garland Sutra or the Flower Adornment Sutra) that reads: “Bodhisattvas, like the clear, cool moon, constantly traversing in ultimate emptiness; when sentient beings eradicate all defilements within their minds, the Bodhi moon will thus appear.” This verse describes that Bodhisattvas are like the clear and bright full moon in the sky, universally shining on the great earth from the void with gentle brightness. As long as the minds of all sentient beings are pure and free of dust or defilements, the shining bright Bodhi moon will reflect on the ocean of our minds.
The self-nature of human being is initially complete and perfect, possessing infinite wisdom and virtue, and is as bright as the moon. However, the bright and glorious self-nature is unable to appear due to the obstacles of delusion and obsession. Our hearts have always had the light of enlightenment, but vexation and annoyance have obscured our complete and perfect self-sufficiency, also our pure and unstained nature of the Buddha-nature.
The moon on the Mid-Autumn Festival is as if the clouds of trouble and obstacles have dispersed, and the light of wisdom shines everywhere. While the defilements and afflictions have gradually eliminated, the wisdom gradually accumulated and increased, and self-awareness and self-consciousness progressively improve to the perfect state. This process is like the gradual completion of the full moon from the first to the fifteenth day of the lunar month.
The moonlight illuminating and shining everywhere is clear and bright, caring and covering all sentient beings in the cosmos. In our daily life, especially when dealing with people and things, we should act selflessly, pure, and equal like a pleasant moonlight so that we will live in a state of wisdom every day and be able to carry out wise actions in our life all time.