4110 N MLK Blvd, North Las Vegas, NV 89032

Gathering of Joy

What is Obon?

The Obon tradition arose from the story of Mahamaudgalyayana (Mogallana in Pali) and his mother in the Ullambana Sutra. The mother has fallen into a terrible state in the afterlife, and the Buddha advises Mogallana that the only way to assist her is to make offerings to the monks at the end of their rainy season retreat. When Mogallana does so, his mother’s suffering is relieved, causing him to clap his hands and dance for joy.

This story became popular in China for its theme of family respect, and Obon has been held in Japan since 657 CE to express gratitude to our departed loved ones and ancestors.

From a Shin Buddhist perspective, the occasion is not about making supernatural requests or offerings to ghosts. The Ullambana story is a call to reflect on all those who came before us and consider what they gave to our world so we could be here today. Realizing this compassion beyond ourselves, like Mogallana, we are brought to dance joyfully in gratitude.


Dharma Message

What makes you want to dace for joy? The dances we do today reflect joyful dancing in honor of our loved ones. Read the Obon message from Rev. John Mullins.

Bon Odori

Bon odori is most commonly known for it's circular dances around a yagura. The motions repeat throughout the songs and often tell stories of the past.

Obon Service

This year's Obon Service is August 25, 2024 at 10am with Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada and Rev. John Mullins at the Las Vegas Buddhist Sangha.