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Thread: We're All In This Together (16) - Let's Celebrate A Joyous Buddha's Birthday

  1. #1

    We're All In This Together (16) - Let's Celebrate A Joyous Buddha's Birthday

    Dear All

    Today is Buddha's Birthday, Hanamatsuri in Japanese tradition, April 8th. Let us celebrate a Joyous Buddha's Birthday which sweeps in both the happy and the hard days of life.

    On a Hanamatsuri in 1246, the teacher Dogen said: "Great assembly, do you want to see the birth of the World-Honored One?" Dogen held up his whisk, drew a circle, and said: "The World-Honored One has been born. In the entire world in ten directions, in mountains, rivers, and lands, all the human beings and all sentient or insentient beings, and all buddhas in the three times in the ten directions, all have been born simultaneously with Gautama, the World-Honored One. Not one thing is born before or after that."


    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    A little more information on Buddha's Birthday ....

    Vesak, or Visakha (pronounced way-sak), is a celebration that commemorates the Buddha's birth .... It is named for the month of May and is celebrated on a full moon on varied days by the lunar calendar in much of Asia. However, in Japanese Buddhism, where it is called "Hanamatsuri" ... the Flower Festival... it is cerebrated each year on April 8th. .

    In some descriptions, the story goes like this ...

    Mahamaya, Siddhartha's mother [the wife of a great king of the Indian Sakyan clan], had a premonitory dream before giving birth to him: A magnificent white elephant with six tusks descended from the heavens surrounded by a chorus of beatific praises. The elephant approached her, its skin white as mountain snow. It held a brilliant pink lotus flower in its trunk, and placed the flower within the queen's body. Then the elephant, too, entered her effortlessly, and all at once she was filled with deep ease and joy.

    The king summoned all the local holy men to divine the meaning of this dream. Their conclusion: 'Your majesty, the queen will give birth to a son who will be a great leader. He is destined to become either a mighty emperor who rules throughout the four directions, or a great Teacher who will show the Way of Truth to all beings in Heaven and Earth.'

    It was the custom in those days for a woman to return to her parents' home to give birth there. Along the way she stopped to rest in the garden of Lumbini. The forest there was filled with flowers and singing birds. Peacocks fanned their splendid tails in the morning light. Admiring an ashok tree in full bloom, the queen walked toward it, when suddenly feeling unsteady, she grabbed a branch of the ashok tree to support her. Just a moment later, still holding the branch, Queen Mahamaya gave birth to a radiant son."

    The story goes that sages arrived at the scene and washed the baby in perfumed water (which is why practitioners of Zen and other Mahayana schools celebrate the birthday by pouring water over a figure of the baby Buddha). Then Mahamaya's attendants wrapped him in silk and carried him to the palace. But seven days after the birth, Mahamaya died (there is no account of how or why), and her sister, Mahapajapati, who was also married to the Buddha's father, became his surrogate mother. After the Buddha's awakening, when he began to teach, Mahapajapati became his first woman disciple and led the order of bhikshunis, or ordained nuns.
    .
    ... [In some accounts] It is said that auspicious signs herald his birth, the sky was clear with brilliant sunshine, flowers bloomed and birds sang. Directly after his birth nine heavenly dragons appeared and emitted two steams, one cool and one warm, of the purest fragrant rain from their mouths that gently cascaded to bathe the newly born Prince. The baby Prince immediately took seven steps and seven lotus flowers sprang from beneath his feet.

    Flowers drifted down from the heavens. [The flowers in this scene are said to be the original of the name "Flower Festival"] The young Prince purified in body and mind from the rain, pointed one hand towards the heavens and one towards the earth and he said,

    "Heaven above and earth beneath, I am the Honoured One, the One who liberates all who suffer in the Three Realms."
    Of course, one need not take the symbolism of magic elephants, heavenly dragons and talking babies literally to realize that we are celebrating together a truly world changing event!!

    Gassho, Jundo

    By the way, we also have some suggestions for "At Home" family events to celebrate the holiday sometime this week when you are all together ... All can be adapted for our need to be at home these days.

    VESAK HOLIDAY IDEAS

    Some of the family ideas include ...

    Bathing The Baby Buddha On the day of Vesak, participate in a ceremony (at home with your family) in which all participants bathe a figure of baby Buddha which you make. A piece of fruit, such as an apple, can also serve to represent the Buddha ...

    Celebrating Nature Vesak is a holiday of birth and Spring and ever new beginnings and hope for this world. Go outside with your family, if weather permits, and touch nature. Of course, we need to be away from others now, so even honoring a single tree, plant or planting tomato seeds or a single lovely flower in a pot will do.

    Practice of Dana (Giving) As a family, make a donation of money, food, clothes, etc. to a foodbank, shelter, or other charitable organizations. No matter how hard many of us may have it now, many without work, find a little bit to send to those even less fortunate through a reputable public charity online.

    Lighting Vesak Lanterns Make Vesak lanterns with the kids! Instruction can be found various places online. Each family member should make one to symbolize both the Buddha's light and the light within each of us. It is best to just hang them without actually lighting, lit only by the light within your own heart.

    A Birthday Party For Baby Buddha! Celebrate with your kids the holiday with a typical child's birthday party, but with the Baby Buddha as the Birthday Boy! Invite other, especially Buddhist children of other Treeleaf members (via Zoom or Facetime). Cake or other sweets (in moderation, and each bringing their own) ...

    Read To Kids The story of Buddha's birth, early life and continue up to and slightly after, his enlightenment. This story can be found in a few different versions online, which parents can simplify in telling the tale to children ...

    Elephant Hunt Much like an egg hunt, families with small children could enjoy an "ELEPHANT HUNT" at home - elephants because Siddhartha's mother dreamt of a white elephant while she was pregnant with him. Draw, cut out and hide elephant pictures ...

    Of course, a little family Zazen is always good too!

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH

    Last edited by Jundo; 04-08-2020 at 05:56 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    A very happy Hanna Matsuri to all!

    Gassho
    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  4. #4
    Amachabutsu tada hōetsu no daihondō

    Great temple hall
    I ladle sweet tea over Baby Buddha
    simple dharma bliss

    From 'A White Tea Bowl' by Mitsu Suzuki

    Happy Birthday Buddha
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  5. #5
    Happy birthday Buddha and a happy Hanna Matsuri to everyone.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

  6. #6
    Member Hokin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Ixtlahuacan De Los Membrillos, Mexico
    Much happiness and healing to everybody,,,,now!!!

    Gassho.
    Arya.
    ST.

  7. #7
    Thank you Jundo. I am going to try a couple of your suggestions. I also ran across this.






    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    Thank you Jundo. I am going to try a couple of your suggestions. I also ran across this.


    Yes, it is actually not such a big holiday here, barely noticed in fact. It is celebrated at some temples by some folks, but nothing like that great national holidays found in Southeast Asia for Vesak.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Thank you, Jundo! /\ A cheerful and joyous birthday to Buddha and all.

    Gassho
    Kendrick
    Sat/LAH
    “Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.” ― Dōgen

  10. #10
    Thank you Jundo

    Gassho
    Washin
    st/lah
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  11. #11
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Thank you Jundo
    Gassho
    Onka Anna
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  12. #12
    Thank you Jundo.

    Happy Birthday!
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  13. #13
    Happy Birthday Buddha!!!

    Gassho
    John

    SatLah

  14. #14
    Happy Hanamatsuri, dear Sangha.
    May Gautama Buddha come to life in all of us.

    Mateus
    Sat/LAH

  15. #15
    A Good Day

    Doshin
    St

  16. #16
    There is a Shin temple near where I live that has a festival, obviously cancelled this year. It's very small, but they have a cool building. They sell books and arts and crafts, you can pour the tea over the baby Buddha, and enjoy treats like mochi ice cream.

    Gassho
    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  17. #17
    Happy Birthday!...
    ...Root of the Tree

    tree.jpg

    Gassho C stlah

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Geika View Post
    There is a Shin temple near where I live that has a festival, obviously cancelled this year.
    I am trying to see if any Buddhist temple in Japan or the west moved the celebrations online this year. Hmmm. So far, I don't see one, but will look a bit more. One of the largest Jodo-shu (Pure Land) Buddhist groups in Japan posted just this about their temple festivities this year ...

    Notice about New Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    In light of the current spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), we will discontinue the following activities that we have been conducting every year.

    (1) The birthday celebration of Shakyamuni Buddha's birth by bathing Baby Buddha in sweet tea: Suspended
    (2) Suspended distribution of sweet tea (tea bags), flower festival drops, flower festival picture postcards
    (3) White elephants, Buddha's cut out photo panel, trick art photo installation corner etc.: Cancelled

    However, the statue of Shakyamuni Baby Buddha will be placed at the flower hall near the Mikage-do hall, so please feel free to visit.
    Hmmm. Even that last part is impossible now, as the government is asking everyone to stay home.



    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    Okay, I knew it ... some of the younger and cooler priests have been active online ...

    Chiumi Matsuzaki ( @matsuzakichikai ) is a priest at the Jingodo Shinshu Honganji school “ Eimeiji ” in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture . We posted on Twitter how to make a custom-built flower festival, the buddha statue, to put sweet tea on a Buddha statue.

    "For the number of retweets in this tweet, the priest will put sweet tea on Buddha instead."


    Tomoumi Matsuzaki (a monk not for sale) @ Jodo Shinshu Honganji school
    @matsuzakichikai
    Today is the day of the flower festival to celebrate the birth of Buddha, but I think that many people cannot participate because of this situation. So according to the number of retweets of this tweet, the priest instead puts sweet tea on Buddha. Retweets are counted until noon on 4/8. pic.twitter.com/LCP2MisREM

    44,504
    3:07-April 8, 2020
    Twitter Advertising Information and Privacy
    49,804 people are talking about this topic

    Matsuzaki offered to send a picture of the Buddha online for those who could not participate in the flower festival.

    As of the 8th, more than 32,000 retweets have been sent to this post ! Looking at numbers far beyond imagination, said Matsuzaki-san…

    Mr. Matsuzaki decides that he will do it even in the case of a rainy day. It was decided to broadcast live from 14:00 on the same day.

    Thank you for many retweets.
    We have already received over 20,000 retweets.
    I'll do it! I'll do it!
    The image of the Buddha will be broadcast live from 14:00 below.

    This year's flower festival is going to get hot https://twitter.com/matsuzakichikai/...86779294621696
    The Buddha will surely be surprised at the state of the “Flower Festival” that became this challenge to overcome barriers!

    How about watching Matsuzaki's hot battle to do so!

    https://grapee.jp/809853


    STLah

    Gassho, J

    PS - And I found the video of his netcast: I am going to write this totally cool priest and tell him how moving this is, on behalf of all of us!! The video gets going from about a minute in, followed by a chanting ceremony about 3:00 mark ... bathing and singing about the 1:50:00 mark ... the climax of 20,000 ladles at about 8:29:00 ... and this priest was apparently ONLINE FOR OVER an 8 HOUR MARATHON of tea bathing!

    Last edited by Jundo; 04-09-2020 at 10:44 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Hello,
    in my hometown, there are quite a lot of buddhists in the different traditions.
    Years ago, they decided, apart from their own festivities, trowing a big, several hundreds of people, buddha birthday party together.
    It was scheduled for June this year, but of course already cancelled, too.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  21. #21
    Happy Hanamatsuri

    Gassho
    Seibu
    Sattoday/lah

  22. #22
    Thank you for the video of the priest bathing the Baby Buddha, Jundo.
    It was quite a challenge to him and his assistents. And it was a wonderful way to participate one way.
    Please, thank him in our name.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat/LAH

  23. #23
    Recently I learned that it's a tradition to eat pancakes on Hanamatsuri: the kanji for "buddha", 仏, can be pronounced "hotoke", which sounds a lot like "hottokeki" ホットケーキ, or "hotcake", another name for pancakes.

    Apparently eating curry is also a tradition, but I can't find an explanation for that, does anyone else know?

    Of course, someone made an anime mascot for the occasion:
    https://twitter.com/matsbox/status/1247546553381687296

    Gassho,
    Kenny
    Sat Today

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny View Post
    Recently I learned that it's a tradition to eat pancakes on Hanamatsuri: the kanji for "buddha", 仏, can be pronounced "hotoke", which sounds a lot like "hottokeki" ホットケーキ, or "hotcake", another name for pancakes.

    Apparently eating curry is also a tradition, but I can't find an explanation for that, does anyone else know?

    Of course, someone made an anime mascot for the occasion:
    https://twitter.com/matsbox/status/1247546553381687296

    Gassho,
    Kenny
    Sat Today
    NEVER heard of this, but crazy enough to be true ... and turns out that it is!

    http://www.daitokuji.jp/sksk_day/0408_hotto

    Can't find a curry connection in Japan, but since Vesak is very big in South Asia ...

    https://globalpressjournal.com/asia/...oson-holidays/

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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