WHY ANCESTRAL WORSHIP?
Greetings - A peacemaker for your family
We have three basic greetings - "Thank you (Arigatou)", "I'm sorry (Sumimasen)" and "All right (Hai)". They enable us to lead a happy and peaceful family life. They also lubricate the human relations at workplaces. In short, greetings are peacemakers in the world of human beings.
We often hear it said that words are the home of our spirit. How true! We say "Arigatou", which literally means "It's a very difficult thing." - a thing which we find very rare in the world. It expresses our feeling of solemnity and dignity. Instead of apologizing, "Sumimasen" literally means that you have not yet completed requiting the other's favors. It expresses our feeling of gratitude and piety. "Hai" means that you have encountered your own innate Buddhahood - the nature of Buddha.
Just try greeting! Don't hesitate. You surely will realize how true the ideas and attitude of our ancestors implied in these three words of greetings are.
Your Buddhist altar stands in the center of your family
In a family living in peace and harmony, you can always hear such greetings as "Thank you", "I'm sorry", "All right", as well as "Good morning (Ohayou gozaimasu)" and "Good night (Oyasumi nasai)". This is probably because members of the family are closely tied with one another spiritually and mentally.
When you sit in front of your Buddhist altar (butsudan), too, you begin with some greetings. You express a feeling of gratitude toward your ancestors - for the very fact you are leading everyday life. You wish your family and yourself the protection of Buddha. And through Buddha, you reminisce about your ancestors and the dead. This is all you have to do before your butsudan. Why not clasp your hands in front of Buddha everyday?
The Buddhist altar (butsudan) is the most important place where Buddha and your ancestors are enshrined. It should not be decorated only on the occasions of Bon Festival (when it is said ancestral spirits return home) and the services during the equinoctial weeks, though they are important ceremonies for us Buddhists. As the spiritual center around which your family are united, the altar should always be decorated and maintained wholeheartedly.
Life with the Buddhist altar
How dignified and beautiful you are when you are praying before the altar! Seeing their parents and grandparents solemnly sitting in front of butsudan with their hands clasped in prayer, children will be brought up to be honest and sincere enough to understand the agony and hardships of others. This is the way we live with the Buddhist altar in the center.
Since its establishment, Echizen'ya has been devoted to helping those who wish for a peaceful family life through the worship of their ancestors. Our philosophy is that a peaceful, happy family life is founded upon our gratitude toward each other, as well as toward our ancestors. This is why we are eager to help foster the custom of greetings and ancestral worship - sitting before the Buddhist altar with our hands clasped in prayer. With this fresh in mind, we hope to make every effort to hand down our traditional craftsmanship and skills, as well as our spiritual heritage, to the succeeding generations. We thank you for your help and patronage.