Obon is an annual Buddhist event for commemorating one’s ancestors. It is believed that each year during obon, the ancestors’ spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives. The Obon week in mid August is one of Japan’s three major holiday seasons.
The Bible is very clear that we are not to entertain or participate in any form of communication with the dead, or with those who claim to be able to do so (mediums). Our lives are to be focused on God, on life, and things not from the past, but on the glory which lies ahead. Focusing on the past keeps humanity in the past; I believe this is one of Satan’s greatest tools to deceive men, and to keep them bound to tradition and ideas which enslave men’s spirits.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 ESV
Traditionally, lanterns are hung in front of houses to guide the ancestors’ spirits, obon dances (bon odori) are performed, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples.
“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.” Ecclesiastes 9:5 ESV
At the end of Obon, floating lanterns are put into rivers, lakes and seas in order to guide the spirits back into their world. The customs followed vary strongly from region to region.
“When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.” Psalm 146:4 ESV
For many, Obon is looked upon as perhaps Americans would at Thanksgiving; a time of food, family and bonding. These things are appealing to our humanity and are not bad things in and of themselves. However, the Buddhist foundation is purely anti-scriptural, and therefore against the Word and will of God for men.
The Holy Spirit is the only true spirit which is able to guide men! God cares about what we believe! And God knows who cares about HIM!
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: …” 1 John 2:1-29 ESV
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 ESV