The Meaning of Spring Ohigan
Reverend Matt Hamasaki, Resident Minister
In March we celebrate Ohigan. We usually call this one “Spring Ohigan,” but March rarely feels like spring — at least for me! If that’s so, then why do we have Ohigan
in March? That’s because it has to do with the equinox: when the day and night are both the same amount of time. This sort of equilibrium is supposed to lend itself to nice conditions that make it ideal for our practice. Of course, the weather was much more of a factor when Buddha and the monks and nuns were traveling outside and meditating in nature.
Presently, and in Jodo Shinshu, we rarely find ourselves meditating in a forest. However, Ohigan still has great significance in taking time from our daily lives and reflecting on this concept of balance. There are many facets of who we are that need balancing, and the one to pay particular attention to during Ohigan is our spiritual life.
Since we are not monks or nuns, we have not devoted the entirety of our being to a spiritual path. But this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a meaningful aspect of it that needs some space in our schedule.
With that in mind, we can ask ourselves, how are we nurturing our spiritual side? And after that, are we spending enough time and effort to do what’s necessary? These can be tricky questions and have elusive answers. To clarify them, it might be helpful to reflect on the opposite side of the coin.
Perhaps you feel like you’re lacking connection or having trouble finding meaning in what you’re doing. Maybe you’re unhappy or constantly upset. If there is a void that is eating at you and you haven’t been able to pay attention to a solution, it is an opportune time to search now.
Take some time to focus on cultivating the spiritual part to bring balance to your entire life.