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October 31 @ 9:30 am - 10:00 am
One event on October 31, 2021 at 9:30 am
Segaki is our annual Soto Zen “Festival of the Hungry Ghosts.” Mythologically, hungry ghosts are beings who have been reborn after death in a “hungry ghost” realm because of their past stingy, selfish, or grasping actions. In the hungry ghost realm they cannot find sustenance, so are constantly thirsty and hungry – and are unable to accept that which would truly satisfy their longing: the truth, or the Dharma.
According to the mythology, there’s only one way hungry ghosts can get a little satisfaction before they free themselves: Spiritual offerings made by the faithful. Therefore, during Segaki we cover the Buddha image (it would scare the ghosts away) and put out the kinds of foods we think hungry ghosts would like (generally junk food; hungry ghosts are not known to be very self-disciplined or health conscious!). Our chanting invites the ghosts to come and partake, and then we send them on their way again. Traditionally, Segaki is also a time to remember people who have recently passed away, praying that the recently deceased have peace and are not in the hungry ghost realm. We are also invited to reflect on unresolved karma in our lives – internal “hungry ghosts” still wandering around, causing trouble – and make a compassionate offering in the interest of liberation and peace.
Note: We are still planning how this ceremony will go, given that there will be some people in-person at the Zendo with the rest of the Sangha on Zoom. Stay tuned!
In the in-person festival, you would be invited to bring junk food to offer the Gakis on a special altar devoted just to them, and then during the ceremony you would proceed to that altar to offer incense.
♦ An online copy of the chants will be shared so you can follow along, but click here for a link to the Segaki Ceremony in case you want to open it in a separate window or print it out.
♦ If you would like to participate in the ceremony at home, we encourage you to decorate your own altar for Segaki by:
- ♦ Covering your Buddha images so as not to frighten the Gakis away
- ♦ Making an offering of junk food
- ♦ If you intend to process at home during the reading of the names of the deceased, some kind of scent offering (incense, flower petals, or some other pleasant scent).
♦ Send the names of anyone you would like remembered at Segaki to info[at]brightwayzen.org. Someone will read these names aloud while we are chanting.