The Bathing of the Buddha Ceremony is the most important of the Buddhist festivals and is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month of the Lunar Calendar. It celebrates the Buddha’s birthday as a time to remember the story of how the Buddha gained Enlightenment, and to reflect on what it might mean for individual Buddhists to move toward Enlightenment themselves.
More than 2,500 years ago in the Himalayan foothills of what is now Nepal，Queen Maya of the Shakyaclan returned to her parents’ home for the birth of her fire child. On her way she took rest in the Lumbini Garden. It was there, with Ashoka blossoms all about her, she gave birth standing beneath a Sal tree. Streams of water ported from the sky to wash both mother and child. After the birth, the king and queen named their child Siddhartha, and Brahmin sages predicted that if the child forsaken his kingship to embrace a religious life, he would became a Buddha, an enlightened one. Buddhists have adopted the bathing ceremony to annually celebrate the birth, enlightenment, and transcendence of the Buddha.
In the bathing ceremony, celebrants use a ladle to pour fragrant water over a statue of the infant Buddha. This act symbolizes inner purification and the purgation of our sins. A universal message that it may be simple to wash away physical dirt but it is much more difficult to cleanse one’s inner dirt of greed, anger and ignorance. Performing the ritual with a purified mind is a way to vow to improve our inner balance so we can achieve a wholesome and enlightened life. This is the real significance of Buddha.
The offering is a very important act in Buddhism. Today our offerings are to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday, not only to express joyful feelings, but also display our humble respect to the Buddha by society in front of the Buddha.
The festival is a time for families to join together to share their humanity. It is a time to reflect on what it means to follow Buddha’s teachings to do good deeds, speak good words and think good thoughts every living day. Also, a vegetarian diet can reduce the industrial production of animal meat products and benefit the environment as well as human health.
On March 11, a massive earthquake and tsunami shook the Northeast region of Japan. Great and compassionate Buddha! I pray for your blessings. Please let the living rid this disaster and become healthy. Please let the departed be born and ranked in the Pure Land.
Fo Guang Shan Guam and BLIA (Buddha’s Light International Association) – Guam Chapter, cordially invite all families and friends to our annual Guam Buddha Birthday Community Festival on May 15th 2011. This year FGS is featuring a Prayer for the earthquake Victims of Japan & Vegetarian Food Fair. The Bathing of the Buddha Ceremony and prayer service for victims of the Japan earthquake will be at 10AM, and the festival and Vegetarian Food Fair will be starting at 11AM. All proceeds after expenses will be donated to Japan Club of Guam to be sent to aid the victims in Japan. The event is held at our Fo Guang Shan Guam Temple in Barrigada. There will be special performances by Dun Hwang dance group from Taiwan and other local cultural dances. Please help us celebrate this event as well as fund raise to help victims of the Japan earthquake. This event is open to the public; please help us share this news by inviting your family and friends.