An old story says that Maudgalyayana (Mokuren in Japanese), one of the closest disciples of Buddha, had several supernatural powers: he could talk to ghosts or gods, travel with the speed of light, walk on water and float in the air…
After his mother died, he used his powers and found her spirit trapped into the “Realm of Hungry Ghosts", a place where the dead suffer from hunger and thirst. Grieving, he went to Buddha and asked how he can help her and Buddha told him to donate to Buddhist monks in the 15th day of the 7th month.
Maudgalyayana followed Buddha’s advice and then he saw his mother freed. Happy and relieved, he started to dance…
… and so started the tradition of Bon Odori dance, the dance performed during the Obon festival.
In Japan, Obon lasts for 3 days and the date varies from July to August, depending on how the 7th month is calculated in the region. The Bon Odori dance and the song are also specific to regions.
Today’s photo is from the Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple from Tokyo, with the Bon Odori wooden stage (yagura). The participants are slowly and beautifully dancing around the yagura, on the slow rhythm of the taiko drum…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: