Ullambana Festival

Ullambana Festival is also called the Sangha Day, or the Buddha's joyful day. It is the day when the Sangha community had completed their summer retreat. As Buddhists, we should uphold the Buddha's teaching of filial piety by supporting the Sangha. This is a very meaningful and meritorious act as it allows the Sangha to practice without obstructions and cultivate merits for ourselves and our ancestors.

The Origin and Meaning of Ullambana and Making Offerings to Sangha Ullambana Sangha Offering Ceremony is for Buddhist laity to offer a meal to the Buddha and the Sangha as an act of reverence.

According to the Ullambanapatra Sutra, when Maudgalyayana, a chief disciple of Sakyamuni Buddha, was unable to alleviate the suffering if his mother in the realm of hungry ghosts, the World-Honored One told him that the only way to deliver his mother from the pains of suffering is to rely upon the strength of monastics of all directions in their cultivation of meritorious virtues. The Buddha instructed his disciples to dedicate an elaborate offering of food and fruits to all Sangha members in the names of his parents from the past seven lifetimes as well as the present lifetime because the practice of Sangha offering has the power to transform and deliver all sentient beings.

The merits thus acquired could liberate the deceased from the three suffering realms and allow the living to enjoy a life of abundance, good fortune and longevity. Therefore, by observing the practice of Ullambana Sangha Offering, all Buddhists can deliver their parents from the miseries of the three suffering realms.

Offering to the Sangha

The annual Sangha Day is also approaching. According to the Buddhist tradition, one may cultivate tremendous merits by making offerings to the Sangha, and practice filial piety by dedicating the merits to their parents and ancestors, and to all the sentient beings. The best way to make offerings to the Triple Gem and support the monastery is to make offerings to the monastic community rather than to just one person or a small number of people; to make offerings for the entire year rather than for only one meal; to make offering consistently rather than just for the present. In this way, one is supporting the Sangha and helping them practice and spread Buddhism, and therefore make this practice with deepened meaning. In order to thank all the devotees and Dharma friends for their kind support, Hsi Lai Temple will conduct a Yogacara Offering Service in the afternoon of the Sangha Day (Sunday, July 21 at 2:00 pm) for them.

In addition, during the entire seventh lunar month (from August 4 to September 2), the monastics will lead devotees to chant the Ksitigarbha Sutra every morning and evening in the Main Shrine and transfer all merits to the devotees and benefactors' parents, ancestors, and loved ones. You and your family are most welcome to attend the services and share in the Dharma joy.

May the Triple Gem bless you and your family!