May We Gather: A National Buddhist Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors


On Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 at 4pm PDT, the first national Buddhist memorial service in response to anti-Asian violence will be livestreamed from Higashi Honganji Temple in Los Angeles, which was vandalized earlier this year.


The event, called "May We Gather," will take place exactly seven week, or 49 days, since the Atlanta shootings that claimed the lives of eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, including 63-year-old Yong Ae Yue, who was Buddhist. In many Asian cultures and traditions, 49 days after death represent an important transition for the bereaved. The event "will feature Buddhist chanting and reflections from forty-nine Asian American Buddhist leaders of South, Southeast, and East Asian descent in a communal ritual to honor people who have died from acts of anti-Asian violence in the United States."


Event organizers are welcoming Asian American Buddhist temples and organizations, as well as communities and individuals of all background to participate in the ceremony by endorsing, sharing, and watching the livestream on May 4th.


UPDATE [4-26-2021]


Organizers Duncan Ryuken Williams, Funie Hsu, and Chenxing Han have provided additional information regarding the event:


"In keeping with COVID-19 regulations, the in-person component of the ceremony at Higashi Honganji Temple will not be open to the public. However, we hope you will watch the 90-minute-long livestream on Tuesday, May 4th, at 4pm PDT (7pm EDT) from the comfort of your own home or from a temple that is able to host a viewing of the livestream.


Information about the May 4th #MayWeGather National Buddhist Ceremony is now available in Chinese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese at www.maywegather.org/spread-the-word (scroll down to “Sample Invitations in Asian Languages”). Please feel to share widely and to adapt these translations to meet your communities’ needs.


For those who would like more detailed information about the event, please refer to the text beneath our signatures. We’ll be sending out another newsletter later this week with more details about the program.


Thank you again for your kind support of this online event."





From the official press release:


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May We Gather: A National Buddhist Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors (www.maywegather.org) is the first national Buddhist memorial service in response to anti-Asian violence. The ceremony will be livestreamed from Higashi Honganji Temple in Los Angeles, which was vandalized earlier this year. The event will be freely broadcast online and will bring together Asian American Buddhists and their allies to heal in community together.


On May 4th, 2021, exactly seven weeks, or forty-nine days, will have passed since the Atlanta shootings claimed the lives of eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, including the 63-year-old Buddhist Yong Ae Yue. In many Buddhist traditions, forty-nine days after death marks an important transition for the bereaved. May We Gather will feature Buddhist chanting and reflections from forty-nine Asian American Buddhist leaders of South, Southeast, and East Asian descent in a communal ritual to honor people who have died from acts of anti-Asian violence in the United States.


The 90-minute event will be held on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 at 4pm PDT (7pm EDT). We welcome Asian American Buddhist temples and organizations as well as allied communities and individuals of all backgrounds to participate in this ceremony by endorsing the gathering, sharing it widely, and watching the livestream on May 4th.

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More information, including how to watch the livestream and help spread the word, is available at www.maywegather.org.



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