Dai Mokuren In Japanese mythology, one of the disciples of the Buddha. Seeing the soul
of his mother in the Hell of Hungry Spirits, Dai Mokuren sent her some food, which became transformed into flames and blazing embers as she lifted it to her lips. He asked the Buddha for an explanation and was told that in her previous life his mother had refused food to a wandering mendicant priest. The only way to obtain her release from perpetual hunger was to feed, on the 10th day of the seventh month, the souls of all of the great priests of all countries. Notwithstanding the difficulty of this undertaking, Dai Mokuren succeeded, and in his joy at seeing his mother relieved, he started to dance. This performance is said to be the origin of the Japanese Bon Odori, dances that take place during the Festival of the Dead, variously scheduled in different regions but usually mid-July and mid-August.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante