Gotane usually refers to the Buddhist observance celebrating the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha, which falls on April 8th in the Japanese tradition. This observance is also called Hana Matsuri (Flower Festival) or Kanbutsue which literally means the “ceremony of pouring the sweet tea on top of a Buddha statue.” The latter term refers to the story of the Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth, when it is said to have rained sweat rain from the heavens down on the earth in celebration of this most auspicious event.
However, there is also another meaning of the term Gotane. The term is also used by the various Japanese Buddhist sects to designate their observances celebrating the birth of the founder of their sect. Accordingly, Gotane is the term used to designate the celebration honoring the birth of Shinran Shonin, the founder of Shin Buddhism (the True Pure Land Sect). He was born on May 21, 1173 and even over 800 years later, Shin Buddhists throughout the world are observing “Gotanye” as an opportunity to reflect on his teachings and to express their gratitude for the Nembutsu teaching he shared with the world.
In honor of Shinran’s birth this month, let’s refocus on his way of life and his teachings and let us refocus our own lives to live a life of gratitude with Namo Amida Butsu.
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浄土真宗本願寺派 大見山 超勝寺 衆徒。翻訳家。ハーバード大学 神学部研究員を修了し、帰国。現在は、執筆活動や通訳・翻訳を通して、日本仏教を世界に弘める活動をしています。