Buddha’s Birthday & Family Day – Protect the Spiritual Environment through Learning Buddhism Practices

Buddha’s Birthday & Family Day – Protect the Spiritual Environment through Learning Buddhism Practices

On May 12 Mother’s Day, which happened to be also Buddha’s Birthday on the 8th day of the fourth lunar month, DDM held a “Family Day – Protecting the Spiritual Environment” event at National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, introducing to the general public the Chan methods and the modest simple way of life as Buddha had espoused. More than 30 activities were provided for people to experience a simpler lifestyle as well as arousing blissful enjoyment in Chan. The activities included bathing the Buddha statue, sounding the Lotus Bell, making eco-friendly handcrafts, experiencing living Chan, as well as relaxation exercises.

At 10.00 AM, DDM Abbot President Venerable Guo Hui (果暉法師) ,the Commissioner of City Affairs Department, Lan Shi-Cong (藍世聰), the Vice President of S.Y.S. Memorial Hall, Yang Tong-Hui (楊同慧), President of DDM Association of Dharma Supporters Chang Chang-Pang (張昌邦), as well as Youth representative Tsai Mini (蔡旻霓) pray together to pledge a wish for the world,
“We pray for the growth of merits and wisdom in everyone; for world peace and people’s ease and happiness;
For warding off disasters and hindrances; for the relief from distresses and enjoyment of happiness;
For widely cultivating virtuous affinities; for liberating from suffering through benevolent acts toward self and others;
We bathe the Buddha with purified Chan mind; we wish there are few vexations in this world.”

The Commissioner Lan Shi-Cong, attending the feast for 5 consecutive years, sounded the Lotus Bell together with DDM Abbot President Venerable Guo Huei, and gave his benediction on behalf of the Taipei City Government,
“With a purified mind, we bathe the Buddha., With Chan practice, we bathe our mind.”
“Make a good wish on Buddha’s Birthday, and make it come true. Put our wish into action, and bring goodness to the world. ”

“Chinese Chan Buddhism has a unique way to pay homage on Buddha’s Birthday through pouring fragrant water and bathing the Buddha statue.” Venerable Guo Huei made a point that Buddha is a human being with perfect wisdom and great compassion; according to the Buddha, every person can attain Buddhahood as the innate Buddha-nature is inherited within every sentient being. People living in the modern society truly need the warmth from the great compassion and the refreshing wisdom. Every one of us can first learn from the Buddha and then share the wisdom and compassion with our family, the society and the whole world.

DDM President Abbot further made his encouraging remarks, “Mothers, symbolizing lasting love and compassion, are selfless givers and dedicated providers., Buddhism is a religion that values bearing gratitude in mind, repaying kindness, and expressing gratefulness. As Master Sheng Yen once said, “First and foremost, be grateful and repay kindness; benefit others and you benefit yourself.”” The Abbot President hoped that the public would experience the merits of wisdom and compassion from Chan practices, and be grateful for Buddha’s and mothers’ graceful kindness.

In legend, Buddha was born, enlightened, and went into nirvana under trees. On the square where the activity was held, there set a magnificent and gracefully adorned tree that represented Buddha’s birthplace.

To show gratitude to the treasured teachings of the Buddha, nearly 7000 participants practiced water-bowl meditation, walking along the isles under the blue-cloth archway that symbolized pouring water from heavenly dragons, and then bathed a portrait of baby Prince Siddhartha with the fragrant water. This process symbolized how dharma teachings refresh people’s dharma-body like embrosia.

The focus of the Family Day was environmentalism education and resources protection. Volunteers were creative to repurpose used-CD, table tennis balls, and clothes hangers for eco-friendly handcrafts and toys for children. Aided with the short phrases that crystalize the basics of Chan practices, “wherever your body is, your mind follows; clarity and relaxation through your whole body”, both parents and children learned to cultivate their attentive powers through joyful playing.

The activity of body-painting let family members express their creativity and at the same time enforce their bonding. Through the game of painting their wishes on the faces and hands of each other, family members passed on their aspirations to the next generation.

As a show of commitment to low-carbon and green style of living, Wang, Hui-Shu (王惠淑) brought more than 20 family members from 3 generations to help out at the event as volunteers. Many wife-husband pairs, mother-daughter pairs, or the entire family joined the Choir performance and service teams, bringing full warmth into the National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.

Texts: Lin, Ya-Ying (林雅櫻)
Lee, Fan (李東陽); Lee, Jia-Chun (李佳純); Liao, Shun-De (廖順得); Wang, Yu-Fa(王育發); Chang, Tian-Pei (張田沛); Lin, Ya-Ying (林雅櫻)
Translation: Elenda Huang
Editing: DDM Editorial Team; Yeh, Shujen (葉姝蓁)

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