This service observes the day that Shinran Shonin passed away (January 16). This service will commemorate the 750th Memorial Service and Ho-onko for Shinran Shonin. His followers gather to express their appreciation and thanksgiving for his efforts in making it possible for us to receive the love and joy of Amida Buddha. In the Hongwanji Temple at Kyoto, Japan, the Ho-on-ko Services are held for one week from January 9th to the 16th. Special service for the families before the family altars may also be held besides those held at the temples.
Each sect of Buddhism observes the death of its founder through a memorial service called Ho-on-ko. The Ho-on-ko Service held in memory of Shinran Shonin, the founder of the Jodo Shin Sect, is the best known of all Shin services.
The main reason for conducting Ho-on-ko Service is to think of gratitude. Because most of us are busy with the demands of everyday life, we can view Ho-on-ko Service, on the anniversary of the death of Shinran Shonin, as an opportunity to pause and reflect. At this time, we should once again trace the footsteps of Shinran with deep appreciation in our hearts and resolve to dedicate ourselves in the service of others to truly make our world friendlier and happier for all mankind.