At the beginning, noted speakers were introduced, and the Dun Huang Dynamic Zen Dance Troupe were able to perform only one dance before lunch titled: The Six Senses Offering dance which was an integration of each dancers’ heart and mind. The breath along with the movements were in complete harmony with the body’s internal energy. The hands, eyes and step movements were connected directly with the compassionate Buddhist’s heart. This dance reached out to each person’s own heart. Once connected with it, together, a prayer for World Peace, a prosperous country with social stability and a sincere dedication to the Victims of the Japan earthquake and Tsunami was faithfully offered.
I did not get to see the dance but did see some of the dancers at lunch and regrettably was not able to speak to them but in passing since I was in charge of the art room where the children came in and was able to color a birthday Buddha picture.
Sometimes people forget what the Buddha’s Birthday is all about — It is about celebrating a birthday! whose exactly? The Buddha! Who is the Buddha? The Buddha is in every single person! It was a very special birthday of a person who lived a very long time ago and people who live right here and right now. If you are reading this and you were not able to attend, guess what? We celebrated your birthday too! Happy Birthday!
The children all had a complete blast coloring and than playing a balloon game to win a prize. There were so many beautiful gifts of art from the children. The picture to the right of this article is the one that they colored. If you missed it and want to color it for yourself, click on the picture and it will take you to a larger one to print out for yourself and/or your child.
The first prize for the balloon game was a teddy bear dressed as a Buddha. There were three lucky children to receive the bears. The bears were created by Spring, Pramila, me and the Thai monk. The Thai monk helped me and Pramila in the final stages of creating the bear. All three of us sat down with the bears in the Thai temple. We laughed, we talked and we prepared the bears. The middle bear has the yellow robe that he wrapped around the bears in the traditional way that a robe is worn by a monastic. He did all three, but then when I got back to the Chinese temple, Anderson told me that the bears should be different somewhat and I thought she was right since we all come to enlightenment differently. As I was talking to her and the Chinese Venerable, I noticed Master Venerable Hsing Yun’s robes in a picture. His third robe overlapped his arm and so I arranged Spring’s orange material in that way on the bears. The diamond in the middle of the forehead represents the Buddha nature that we are all born with and sometimes do not realize even though it is an obvious part of ourselves. The beads, Pramila, strung for each bear represent the mala that is used for meditation in contemplating the mind. The white pants that Spring designed were to represent the birth stage that sometimes we go through many times a day when we think selfishly of ourselves, we are born once again into the world of delusion, and each time we act with empathy and compassion, we continue on our path to enlightenment.
The event lasted well on into the afternoon hours. I had to leave and was not able to see the remaining dances since it was well passed three 0’clock before the dances started again. One person actually passed out from heat and/or exhaustion of the event during one of their later dances. I think cutting down on the length of some of the chants might have been beneficial. Hopefully next year, the dances can be seen in the first half of the program instead of the last since most people left after lunch and, personally, the dances have just as much significance and meaning as the Chinese chants.
It was a birthday! And one to celebrate! Hope you can make it to next year’s!