Many prayers, kindness, thoughtfulness and love became a form of lanterns last night at Toro Nagashi Ceremony. Traditionally lanterns during O-Bon are signs to lead deceased coming back. They say with lanterns' lights, deceased can come back home without getting lost and return safely to the place where they belong to. So lanterns can be just like street lights of the road. By lighting up the road, people can walk or drive home safely.
I wondered, however, do deceased need lights when they come back here? Can they get lost if we don't have lanterns? My answer, after some thoughts, were "No." I believe they don't need lights because they belong to the place where incredible lights are always lighting and shinning. We call it Jodo or Pure Land and deceased cannot get lost.
So the truth is...the one who needs lights is actually us, who always have a tendency to get lost. We need lights in order to live without our beloved deceased. We need lights in order to live peacefully and happily in our daily life. So the lights can be anything....Faith, Love, kindness, and aloha and with these lights, we can live better lives here without our dear beloved ones. O-Bon is the time when we can realize lights we need and we can easily see those lights through the forms of lanterns we dedicated.
A big mahalo to those who sponsored lanterns, O-Toba and Ko-Toba. Your kindness and aloha to the deceased will also help our temple to continue our O-bon next year. Thank you so much!