From staff reports
YEAGERTOWN - Ullambana, the Buddhist memorial holiday honoring ancestors and clergy, will be celebrated this Friday and Saturday at the Ananda Buddhist Monastery and Center in Yeagertown.
A chanting service will be conducted at 7:30 p.m. Friday, during which scriptures about the first Ullambana celebration will be read in Vietnamese and English.
The monastery's master and abbot, the Rev. Thich Van Dam, will lead the main celebration at 11 a.m. Saturday, which will include a dharma talk, or Buddhist sermon, meditation, chanting and music, followed by a vegetarian luncheon.
In Buddhism, the first Ullambana is believed to have began during the life of Shakyamuni Buddha in the sixth century. A monk, Maudgalyayana, wished to save his deceased mother who had been reborn as a hungry ghost due to her past misdeeds.
A hungry ghost, or preta in Sanskrit, is a being who, in a previous life, showed a great amount of desire and greed. Hungry ghosts are traditionally depicted as phantoms with slender necks and distended bellies, symbolizing a spiritual hunger than cannot be satisfied due to their great attachment to material things.
Maudgalyayana delivered his mother by making offerings to the Buddha and his assembly of monks and nuns on the full moon day of the seventh lunar month - a tradition that continues to this day as an integral part of Ullambana festivities.
The public event is free. For more information or directions, visit www.abmconline.org.