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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Ceremony for the Children We Mourn

Pine Wind Zen Center, in Shamong, will host a Ceremony for the Children We Mourn, a community celebration to honor and mourn the lives and deaths of children, from 2 to 4 p.m., June 28.

The ceremony honors Jizo Bodhisattva, the protector of children, specifically children who have died. One of the most beloved figures in Japanese Buddhism, Jizo-An is frequently depicted in childlike statues found all over Japan, often with items of remembrance left by grieving parents asking for protection for their deceased child.

The event is open to the community and includes the creation of fabric prayer offerings to be used in the ceremony; a silent group procession around the monastery grounds to the entrance of Jizo hall to tie paper prayer flags, a gesture meant to nurture the beings who have died and those still living; and a ceremony of remembrance and letting go, allowing anyone to approach the alter and place their fabric creation on one of the figures of compassion and communicate, aloud or silently, their prayer for the well-being of the child.

Cost: $15 donation. Children must be accompanied by two adults. Location: 863 McKendimen Rd. For more information or to register (required by June 15), call 609-268-9151 or visit PineWind.org.

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