October 28th, 2020

Year of the Mouse is celebrated


By Bobinec, Greg on January 2, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

As the clock struck midnight New Year’s Eve, a new decade began and members of the Southern Alberta Buddhist Temple gathered with the community to start fresh into the year of the mouse.

On the final night of the year, over 100 people gathered at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden for their 16th annual Year-End Bell Ringing Ceremony, Joya-no-kane, where they rang the temple bell 108 times to dispel any selfish desires and start fresh for the new year.

“Last night we had a year-end bell ringing ceremony,” says Sensei Yasuo Izumi, Southern Alberta Buddhist Temple. “Last year was more important than today because last year we shook the bell at Japanese Gardens which is a very beautiful tradition from Japan, we shook the temple bell 108 times because in Buddhism, we understand that always human beings have 108 bad passions or selfish desires, so we shake the bell for a start to a fresh, clean, new life.”

During the first day of the year, the Southern Alberta Buddhist Temple invited members and dharma friends to their first service of the year where they held a small gathering and exchanged greetings.

As per the Japanese Zodiac, influenced by the Chinese Zodiak, every generation has 12 years with each one signified by one life form. In accordance to the cycle, 2020 is the Year of the Mouse, and although many consider the rat or mouse to not be cute and cuddly, it has characteristics of an animal with wit, spirit, flexibility and hard working.

“Mouse means very hard working animal,” says Izumi. “In the Chinese Zodiac and all of the animals, they came to pay a respect at the moment the Buddha passed away, they all came one by one, and the first one that came was a mouse.”

Izumi says people may think that the animal symbolizing the year is supposed to bring them the qualities they have, but it is not about them giving you something, it is about learning from their qualities and developing them into our own lives.

“We learn from the mouse and the mouse works hard, so the mouse doesn’t bring something but we learn from the mouse,” he says.

The Southern Alberta Buddhist Temple will be hosting Ho-onko, along with Jjnusrty Shotsuki, on Jan. 12, at 2 p.m., which will be followed by their annual New Year’s party. All members and Dharma friends are invited to attend.

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