Buddhist Observances

Taiko drummer at Obon celebration in Las Vegas

Special observances, in Japanese, are called gyoji—literally “religious happenings.” They are special occasions when the Sangha gathers to observe ritually the principles of Buddhism. It is a time to gather and a time to share.

It is a time to reflect upon and appreciate the intricate bonds that enable us to live and a time to show our gratitude for the teachings and the teachers who serve as guides in our journey to spiritual understanding.

Buddhist Observances throughout the Year

MONTH OBSERVANCE DATE TITLE  DESCRIPTION
January New Year’s Day January 1 Shusho E New Year’s Day
  Shinran Shonin Memorial January16 Ho-on-ko Feast of Thanksgiving and gratitude
February Nirvana Day February 15 Nehan E Passing of Sakyamuni into Nirvana
March Higan March 21 Higan E Spring Equinox
April Buddha Day April 8 Hana-matsuri Birth of Gautama Buddha – the “flower festival”
May Shinran Shonin Day May 21 Shuso-Gotan E Placed his faith in Amida’s power
June, July Obon June, July Obon Obon festivals around the country
August Obon Festival 2nd Saturday Obon LV Buddhist Sangha Obon Festival
September BCA Founding Day September 1   BCA Founding Day
   Higan  September 23  Higan E  Autumnal Equinox
October        
 November  Eitaikyo  not specified  Eitaikyo  Memorial Service
 December  Bodhi Day  December 8  Jodo E Jaya E  Enlightenment