Sejiki has been a popular search word this past week, and I notice that I have been avoiding writing about it. Of course there is an account from last year, which the searchers will have found, but I resisted plugging it after the lecture on Saturday as I wasn't sure how to encapsulate it. On one hand, it is a commemoration of the dead, as we read out a list of names of people we know who have died in the last year - and in this vein, I invite anyone reading to submit the names of anyone they knew who has died and who they would like included in this list (mail to: ccino, care of sfzc.org). That part is always solemn and moving. It is mixed with the Kan Ro Mon, or Gate of Sweet Dew, which is full of esoteric invocations and mantras, with the doshi also performing mudras and blessings to invite and assuage the roaming hungry ghosts; we literally turn the Buddha Hall back to front to make them feel welcome, and the chanting can be spine-chilling if it is done well. And on top of that people, are decked out in Halloween fineries, which personally I am not so bothered about (well, one year I might shock everyone by putting on a costume, but it won't be this year - and I said exactly the same thing last year), and we make a lot of noise with musical instruments, not something that happens every day around these parts.
Doesn't make for a snappy announcement to the assembly, really. Come for 6pm on Monday if you can, and on Monday for morning service if you want to have a crack at the Kan Ro Mon ahead of time - you can download it from here also.
Postscript - the work leader hung the trunkful of costumes out to air this morning, and encouraged me to take pictures, so here they are: