Bathing the Buddha

The Origin of Bathing the Buddha
Over 2,600 years ago in ancient India, Queen Maya of Kapilavastu gave birth to Prince Siddhartha, who later became Shakyamuni Buddha, under the ashoka tree in Lumbini Garden. The newborn Prince, pointing one hand up at the sky and the other downwards to the earth, said, “In heavens and on the earth, I am the singularly supreme.” This meant that, having gone through three great incalculable eons of practice and about to attain Buddha-hood in the human realm, he was the most superior among all the heavenly and human beings. At that very moment, two streams of pure water came down from heaven to bathe the Prince’s body. Since then, Buddhists have been celebrating the Buddha’s birthday by performing the Buddha Bathing Ritual.

The Meaning of Bathing the Buddha
To purify our body, speech, and mind, we pray sincerely while pouring clean water over the statue of Prince Siddhartha, by chanting the verse of merit-transfer: “As I now bathe all Tathagatas, pure wisdom as adornment and with the accumulation of merit and virtue, may sentient beings in the world of Five Turbidities leave behind defilements and aspire to realize the pure Dharma-body of the Tathagata.” By aspiring to eliminate greed, hatred, and delusion, purifying our bodily, verbal, and mental actions, we hope to enjoy a pure and peaceful society free of violence, fraud, and evil, and live in a beautiful and pleasant environment. Through the merit of bathing the Buddha, we want to purify our afflictive defilements, make our society and country a better place, transform the world of Five Turbidities into a pure land, and change the evil and disturbed mind into one of kindness and awakening. This is bathing the Buddha in its true sense.

The Benefits of Bathing the Buddha
1. Attaining the insight of unconditioned Dharma
2. Developing diligence
3. Attaining great wisdom
4. Attaining rebirth as a Wheel-turning King (Skt. chakravarti-raja)
5. Enjoying wealth and prosperity in the human or heavenly realm
6. Having extensive descendants
7. Enjoying longevity without suffering diseases
8. Winning the protection and support from benevolent deities
9. Eventually attaining the unsurpassed Buddhahood

Moreover, the benefits of bathing the Buddha as mentioned in the Sutra on the Merit of Bathing the Buddha are as follows:
1. Enjoy wealth, happiness, and extended life-span without illness in the present life
2. Wishes being fulfilled and granted
3. Family, relatives, and friends will enjoy peace and stability.
4. Encountering none of the Eight Difficulties, permanently leaving behind afflictive conditions
5. Not being reborn as a female, while soon attaining realization and enlightenment

Translated by Frances Liu (劉珮如) and edited by Chiacheng Chang (張家誠)

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