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Jnanacandra is Chair of Triratna’s Essen Buddhist Centre, in Germany. She writes about their recent Jugendfeier – a rite of passage for adolescents – held on 5th June for four teenage boys. Open the pictures fully to see the very evident love and appreciation of the boys and their parents!
“This beautifully designed ceremony ritually marked the end of the boys’ childhood and their embarking on the path toward adulthood. About 60 people were present, mostly from the boys’ families, and also friends from our sangha. The ritual, wonderfully led by Shraddhaghosha and accompanied with musical offerings from some of the boys’ siblings, first invited memories from the past, honouring the precious bond between parent and children. This was enacted by parents and teenagers bowing to each other and exchanging a symbolic gift that expressed what they valued in each other.
After this, the parents cut a lock of hair from their child which they later dropped into a river – symbolising the importance of a gradual letting-go of your child in adolescence, creating the space that allows them more and more to take their own steps and decisions.
In the last stage of the ceremony, each boy was thoroughly rejoiced in and reminded of his many precious qualities that will help him find his way into adulthood well. The ritual ended with the singing of the blessings and a loud and heartfelt threefold “sadhu”!
This was the fifth such ceremony in Essen and many enthusiastic guests commented that they were keen to have this ritual for their children too, when they reached 14.”
Visit Essen Buddhist Centre’s website.
Young Buddhists at Essen Buddhist Centre.