Celebration of Ullambana

Ullambana is the day for helping those beings who are suffering so that they can obtain liberation.

The Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana, one of the great disciples of the Buddha, was foremost in spiritual powers. When he obtained the six spiritual penetrations, he searched for his departed mother. He discovered that she had fallen into the hells. Although the Venerable Maudgalyayana had great spiritual powers, he could not save his mother. Thereupon he knelt before his teacher, the Buddha, and beseeched the World Honored One to help.

The Buddha explained that his mother was suffering in the hells because of her deep offenses and so the Venerable Maudgalyayana must rely on the united strength of the Sangha of the ten directions in order to save his mother.

The Buddha said, “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you should make an offering of the finest vegetarian foods and drinks and offer it to the Buddha and the Sangha. By making this offering, the Way-virtue of the high Sanghans of the ten directions will then be able to save your mother.”

The Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana did as the Buddha had instructed. Due to the strength of the greatly virtuous ones of the ten directions, his mother was reborn in the heavens. Since then, the Ullambana festival has become an annual Buddhist celebration and a day upon which anyone can rescue his or her parents of seven lives past.

The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua taught:

"No teaching is apart from Filiality. Apart from filiality, there is no teaching. When the limitless lessons under the sky are summarized, it is just this one lesson. This lesson encompasses limitless learning. Study this lesson to perfection and other lessons will also be completed."

To read this entire Buddhist text, please click on: The Buddha Speaks the Ullambana Sutra.

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