Come enjoy the Annual Craft and Food Bazaar at the Tacoma Buddhist Temple. Times are TBA
On a pleasant July afternoon, the Tacoma Buddhist Temple held their annual Bon Odori Japanese Folk Dance festival.
People from throughout the area came to celebrate listening to the taiko drums and watching the dancers in their beautiful kimonos and cotton yukatas. Everyone is welcome to join in the dance – the Temple even holds dance lessons prior to the festival.
The Bon Odori festival, also known as O Bon, is derived from the Buddhist Ullambana Festival, which is a time to welcome the return of one’s ancestors. There is an emphasis on loved ones lost the previous year, and all ancestors are honored through offerings and celebrations, as well as celebrating our own present lives.
In front of the temple, Fawcett street was closed for the event and strung with colorful hanging lanterns. Delicious food was offered at various booths, and people could visit inside the temple to learn more about Buddhism, or visit the serene temple garden.
Central to the celebration are the folk dances (Bon Odori) performed to music that includes the steady beat of a taiko. The taiko sits on a raised platform, or a yagura, and musicians use bachi, or drumsticks, on the taiko, to keep time for the Bon Odori dancers. The guiding purpose of Bon Odori is to set aside the ego through unselfconscious dancing.
Participation is customarily diverse with young and old, formally trained and informally trained dancers, Japanese Americans and non-Japanese Americans. This year dozens of people danced to and enjoyed the drumming sounds of Fuji Taiko of Tacoma and Matsuri Taiko of Seattle.
This was my first year attending the festival, and I was fortunate enough to go with Tammy Boros. When I asked Tammy what she enjoyed about the festival she said, “I liked the Bon Odori festival because it gives me a way to feel connected to my culture and my community. It is a wonderful reminder of the beautiful artistry and traditions of the Japanese culture.”
If you have not attended a Bon Odori festival, I encourage you to do so next year and celebrate along with our Buddhist friends and neighbors. I know I will return.
The Tacoma Buddhist Temple, in partnership with Associated Ministries, will host an interfaith dialogue on peace building on June 11, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. This is a free public event and is open to all members of the Tacoma community. It is hoped that this event will help people of faith in Tacoma think about what they can do to contribute to peace here, and in the wider world.
Panelists include Joshua Christy (Baha’i Faith Tacoma), Reverend Joseph Hickey-Tiernan (Church of the Holy Spirit, Vashon Island), Professor Turan Kayaoglu (University of Washington-Tacoma), and Reverend Kojo Kakihara (Tacoma Buddhist Temple). The event will be moderated by Dr. Amanda Feller, a professor of communication at Pacific Lutheran University who specializes in dialog and conflict resolution.
Asked why he wanted to hold this event at his temple, Reverend Kakihara explains, “Depending on how we use it, religion can become a barrier that separates us from others, but I believe that religion enables us to accept different people, as well as bring happiness and peace to their and our lives. I hope that through this event we are all able to deepen our understanding of our own religions and the religions of others in order to sense the interconnectedness of life.”
Dr. Erik Hammerstrom, another of the event’s organizers, says, “There is a tendency to over-emphasize religion’s role in conflict in the world. While conflict is certainly one part of the history of religion, it is also important for religious people to affirm and uplift the many contributions that religion has made, and can continue to make, to building peace at the local and global levels.” Hammerstrom is a professor of religion at Pacific Lutheran University and a member of the Tacoma Buddhist Temple’s Buddhist Education Committee. To learn more about the Tacoma Buddhist Temple, visit their website at http://www.tacomabt.org/.
The Tacoma Buddhist Temple will hold our annual Sukiyaki Dinner on Sunday, March 6th from 11 am to 4 pm. Please come to enjoy our traditionally cooked Sukiyaki and other Japanese food with your family and friends.
Other Japanese Specialties:
Teriyaki Chicken Dinner
and back by popular demand…
Rev. Kojo’s Special Miso Soup
Take-out is available & we appreciate your support!