Friday, 24 May 2013

Buddhist Nativity Ritual - Bathing the Infant Buddha

Bathing the Infant Buddha
 Karen Tang, 6, participates in the bathing of the Buddha ceremony, during the 2013 Guam Buddha Birthday Community Festival at the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Barrigada Heights.

From Guam Pacific Daily News

....For Buddhists, it's a time to remember the story of how Buddha gained enlightenment, and to reflect on what it might mean for individual Buddhists to move toward enlightenment.

The event began at the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Barrigada with offerings of gifts of incense, flowers, light and food to the Buddha.

The gift of incense, offered by the men, is a means to ask the Buddha to help achieve the clear mind and good karma needed to better be able to learn and understand the profound Dharma, according to chapter member Billy Wong.

The Dharma refers to the system of analysis taught by the Buddha regarding the causes of suffering and the necessary course of action needed to be taken to undo these causes...   Full Article

From New Lotus
"...I found myself wondering why the glorious Bodhisattva even needed us, mortal deluded beings that we are, to bathe his image. I’ve come to believe our bathing the Prince is a gesture of welcome, to invite the baby Bodhisattva into this suffering world and give thanks to him for coming. But it’s something more. In the Chinese tradition, laypeople are invited to communally participate in the Dharma Assembly of Bathing the Buddha. But in the Mahāyāna tradition, Śākyamuni is the unique Buddha of this world, with many more simultaneously in others. So Buddhists and people involved with Dharma communities are invited to make offerings to establish fruitful karmic conditions with infinite bodhisattvas. Worship, prayer, and devotion will empower us to beseech all Buddhas to aid them in the project of building peaceful communities of faith.

The meaning of bathing the image of the Buddha is multifaceted. We guarantee to cultivate our spiritual maturity. We vow to attain purity of body, speech, and mind in the three times of past, present, and future. In the Chinese tradition the vow is very ambitious: to be reborn life after life to help suffering beings until one becomes a bodhisattva and then a Buddha. This year in 2012, we welcome little Siddhartha Gautama into our world again. It might have been his last rebirth 2600 years ago, but I share the confidence of all Buddhists that he’ll always be with us, until all beings are freed from suffering. Is there a better friend, a more compassionate companion, than someone who made a vow eons ago to become one Buddha among many?

The least we could do is give him a refreshing welcome – just don’t presume to give the World-Honored One a bubble bath this May..."

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