Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Japan tsunami survivors pray in summer Buddhist rite

By Yoko Kubota, Reuters, Aug 13, 2011
In a little room of a small hillside temple that barely survived Japan's tsunami five months ago, Yuko Kikuchi knelt down, quietly sobbing and gently caressing the boxes that hold the bones and ashes of her perished mother and sister-in-law.

"It's harder now," 57-year-old Kikuchi, who came back to her devastated hometown Otsuchicho, about 500 km (300 miles) northeast of Tokyo, on Sunday to observe "obon," a series of annual Buddhist ceremonies in mid-August to honor the spirits of the dead.

"In the beginning, there were so many things I had to do and my feelings were high. But now that things are gradually settling, it's hard and I remember many things that we used to do without thinking deeply ... It was just so sudden."

Many survivors of the magnitude 9 quake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan on March 11 are trying to take a step forward in their shattered lives with obon ceremonies, which involve gatherings of extended family members, welcoming back the spirits of ancestors to homes, and praying....

Continue reading from The Buddhist Channel.

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