The Obon festival and memorial service held the following week are in recognition of a story found in the Ulambana Sutra. The story concerns one of the Sakyamuni Buddhas ten great disciples, Mogallana.
In the sutra, Mogallana learns the true meaning of gratitude through the life of his deceased mother with the help of Sakyamuni Buddha. It was said that at this realization, Mogallanas joy was so great, that he began to dance. In commemoration of this legend, one of the highlights of the Obon festival is the Obon dancing by members of the Sangha and community.