All people who died before us taught us only one thing, which is that death will soon come to us, too. If we realize this and concentrate the rest of our lives on the Dharma, then their deaths and our friendship and relation with them were not in vain. This is the meaning of Obon – to become aware of our own fragility and impermanence, while remembering our departed ones. From beyond the graves, their loving memories call us to awake ourselves to the truth that we never know when death might come and that we should be prepared.
(*)Koan is a word or a phrase of non-sensical language which cannot be “solved” by the intellect. It is used as an exercise to break through the limitations of conventional thought and to develop intuition, giving the practitioner the chance to reach an awareness beyond duality. They are used as meditation objects in Rinzai Zen. However, very often these koans are treated by many as mere intellectual interesting games, loosing in this way their original function.