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To perform the ritual, practitioners first bow to the Buddha and then scoop the scented water and pour it over the statue of infant Prince Siddhartha, and repeat the same process for two more times. Meanwhile, participants chant Shakyamuni Buddha’s name and the Bathing-the-Buddha Gatha, to wish all beings to leave behind afflictive defilements, and soon realize the pure Dharma-body of the Tathagata.
Bathing the Buddha has a profound meaning.

While pouring fragrant water over the statue of Prince Siddhartha, we must sincerely pray: “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 soon realize the pure Dharma-body of the Tathagata.”

Through the merit of bathing the Buddha, we should aspire to purify our bodily, verbal, and mental actions by eliminating our greed, hatred, and delusion. This is the real meaning of bathing the Buddha.

The birth of Buddha into the world brought spiritual serenity and a path to liberation for confused and lost sentient beings. Therefore we hold the Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday, showing our gratitude to his kindness.
Why do Buddhists perform the ritual of bathing the Buddha on Shakyamuni Buddha’s holy birthday, and why is it called the “Bathing the Buddha Festival”?

Legend has it that over 2600 years ago Queen Maya of Kapilavastu gave birth to Prince Siddhartha, who later became Shakyamuni Buddha, under a sala tree in the Lumbini garden.

Upon his birth, there were nine dragons pouring fragrant water to bathe the infant prince’s body. Then he took seven steps, with one hand pointing towards the sky and the other towards the earth, and said, “In heavens and on the earth, only I am singularly supreme.”

This indicates that, having gone through three great incalculable eons of practice and about to attain Buddhahood in the human realm, he was the most superior among all the heavenly and human beings. Since then, Buddhists have been celebrating the Buddha’s birthday as a tradition by performing the Buddha bathing ceremony.
Based on the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva, the assembly reflects the Buddhist spirit of great filial piety.

As a way to show gratitude and repay kindness, the seven-day Amitabha Recitation Retreat is a popular event for many practitioners during the Tomb-Sweeping Festival. Of various Buddhist methods of practice, reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name is a most straightforward and effective way to help us gather our mind and live in the present. By reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name in one-minded concentration without confusion and distraction, we will be more able to calm and settle our mind.
The Concept of Repaying Kindness: To Benefit All Sentient Beings through Actual Practice

Purifying our minds and society through diligent practice of the Dharma at the Dharma assembly:
In Chinese culture, the Tomb-Sweeping Festival is a time to pay respects to one’s ancestors, by remembering their kindness and the value of filial piety.
We all know that in dreams people confuse dream phenomena with reality by engaging in those scenarios. They don’t realize that it is only a dream until they wake up. What most people don’t know is that our daytime activities are also a dream, in which our minds are constantly engaged in images from our memories and regarding those as real. How can this all be a dream?
It’s difficult to put into words why exactly I was drawn to meditation. I grew up in a secular household with no particular religious inclination, and didn’t know many people with an interest in meditation, let alone a regular practice. Still, for many years I had an on-again, off-again interest in meditation, and had on more than one occasion given it a try. Without much guidance or structure though, I never developed a regular practice and my understanding of meditation remained quite simple. Fortunately, when I arrived in Taiwan for a six-month stay, I brought with me a newfound interest in meditation. After learning about Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM) and their International Meditation Group (IMG), I decided to attend one of their weekly meditation sessions run in English. After nearly six months of regular practice, I’m still trying to figure out what exactly meditation means to me and where it fits in my life. Having said that, developing a regular meditation practice has been an extremely engaging, thought-provoking, and introspective process that has served as a kind of mirror for my life and my place in the world. It is something that can be taught in a half hour but practiced for a lifetime, and is one of the simplest and yet most fascinating things a person can do.
DDM Melbourne Chapter was truly privileged to have Chan teacher Zarko Andricevic from Croatia to share the joy of Dharma through a series of activities, including a Beginner Chan Meditation workshop, two public Dharma talks and a five-day Chan Meditation retreat. Teacher Zarko is one of the five Western Dharma heirs of the late most Venerable Chan Master Sheng Yen, the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain.
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