How Buddhists Remember Their Loved Ones, Ancestors | Myosenji Buddhist Temple
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How Buddhists Remember Their Loved Ones, Ancestors

Toba Memorial Tablets

Myosenji Temple members can offer Toba tablets for our deceased relatives and ancestors throughout the week and on Saturdays and Sundays. Every 3rd Sunday, our Chief Priest conducts the Monthly Memorial ceremony. This is also a time to offer Toba or special memorial requests. Members can pick up the Toba application form at the bookstore and take it home and plan your Toba requests. You can also download the form. If you have any questions about Toba, please ask our Assistant Priest, Rev. Hori.

About Toba Memorial Tablets

Nichiren Shoshu believers offer toba memorial tablets for the benefit of the deceased. The word “toba” is Japanese for the word stupa in Sanskrit. The original form of a stupa in ancient India was that of a burial mound. Many different forms of stupas developed over the years in both India and China. The five-story pagoda is one of the most commonly known forms of a stupa.

In Nichiren Shoshu, the toba memorial tablet also takes the form of five levels. The five levels signify the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space. The bottom level of the toba is shaped like a square. This represents earth. The second level is in the shape of a circle, representing water. The third level, denoting fire, is a triangle. The fourth level, in the shape of a semicircle represents wind. At the top of the toba is the level representing space or ku. It is shaped like a jewel signifying the “treasure of fulfillment.” Nichiren Daishonin taught that all phenomena in the universe are composed of these five elements. This, of course, includes the human body. Therefore, the toba signifies the body of the deceased.

Sunday’s Monthly Memorial – November 17th

This Sunday there will be the Monthly Memorial service. Immediately following the ceremony, at 11:00 am, we will hold an Introduction to Buddhism meeting. The topic of this meeting is the Buddhist concept of the Ten Worlds. Hope you can join us this Sunday at the Temple.