How to Hold a Memorial Service for Your Ancestral Spirits

STEP 1  PREPARATION

What you need:

①  a tanzaku more than 30cm tall     → copy & paste  “短冊”

②  a wooden stand for the tanzaku    → copy & paste  “短冊立て”

③  incense sticks                                     → copy & paste  “線香”

④  a small white ceramic bowl               → copy & paste  “香炉”

⑤  ashes made from burned plants       → copy & paste  “香灰”

⑥  a table more than 30~50 cm high   → copy & paste   “八足台”

The goods mentioned above are available on Amazon.co.jp. Copy and paste the Japanse words above and search them.

http://www.amazon.co.jp/

After you’ve got everything you need, write down on the tanzaku with black ink  like the following:

“The Place for Ancestral Spirits of YOUR FAMILY NAME”

If your family name is Smith, for example, you write:

“The Place for Ancestral Spirits of the Smiths”

STEP 2  PRACTICE

You hold a memorial service in the morning once a day.

First, light three incense sticks and stand one of them at the left corner of the white bowl put in front of the tanzaku, thinking about your male ancestors, and say:

“My ancestors, please accept this. 

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su. 

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.”

Second, stand another incense stick at the right corner of the white bowl, thinking about your female ancestors, and say :

“My ancestors, please accept this. 

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su. 

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.”

Thirdly, stand the other incense stick on the front side of the white bowl, thinking about all other spirits who have something to do with you, and say:

“ All other spirits who have something to do with me,

please accept this. ”

and, putting your hands together, toward the three incense sticks, you repeat the following phrase:

“I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.”

And at last, with an image that all spirits go back to the original motherly love,

repeat the following phrase as many times as you want :

“A Ma Te Ra Su O Ho Mi Ka Mi  A Ma Te Ra Su O Ho Mi Ka Mi”

STEP 3 IMPORTANT REMINDER

  1. You don’t have to follow exactly the same way mentioned above.
  2. This service is done for the sake of your ancestors, not yourself.
  3. You must not ask a favor of your ancestral spirits.
  4. Just offer your gratitude to your ancestral spirits.
  5. Do not hold the memorial service at night.
  6. Be careful of the fire.
  7. You don’t have to buy expensive goods.You can substitute inexpensive ones.
  8. Do not break incense sticks.
  9. Stand the tanzaku firmly.
  10. Should you feel too depressed during the service or something goes wrong, just stop doing it.
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