I don't blog much about Buddhism but one guy who does is Doug over at Japan: Life and Religion, with many quotes from Buddhist scriptures and other insights, including his posts on Ohigan. Deep stuff. Also, From the garden of zen, based in Kita-Kamakura, blogs about the seven Higan-bana, the flowers that bloom around this time of the year. I love this photo of the Manjyu-shage (lycoris radiata).
Ohagi, a rice cake covered with bean jam, soybean flour or ground sesame, is traditionally eaten during Ohigan. The cake is named after hagi (bush clover), which flowers in September.
Meanwhile, many people take the "Silver Week" off and get out of the cities to visit relatives elsewhere. As usual, these people spend a lot of time stuck in traffic jams, which are then endlessly reported on the news. Trying to get "to the other shore" while sitting in your car? Hope the stress isn't getting to you!
Today we celebrate Ohigan. Ohigan is celebrated twice a year during the spring and autumn equinox, the time of year when the day and night are of equal length. The Ohigan is also a time of transition, from the short days of winter to the long days of summer and back again. As a time of seasonal transition, it also represents the transitions of human life, from the sunny summer of life to dark winter of death. This is why the Ohigan is a time to remember those who have passed on, particularly our ancestors and loved ones. It is also a time to give thought to another kind of transition, from this shore of birth and death to the other shore of enlightenment, wherein birth and death is transcended. In fact, we recite the Odaimoku and the Lotus Sutra for the purpose of enabling those of us still living and those who are deceased for whom we dedicate merit to both arrive at the other shore of awakening.
From a Dharma talk given in March 2005, at the San Jose Nichiren Buddhist Temple.