DDM Global News

Bathing the Buddha Festival: In Celebration of Shakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday

On April 8th of the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese Buddhists will celebrate the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The Buddha's Birthday, also called Bathing the Buddha Festival, is a significant day in Buddhism. Why do Buddhist monasteries in many countries hold the Bathing the Buddha ceremony on this day? And, why is the Buddha's Birthday also called the Bathing the Buddha Festival?

Legend has it that over 2600 years ago, under a sala tree in the Lumbini garden, Queen Maya of Kapilavastu gave birth to Prince Siddhartha, who later became Shakyamuni Buddha. Upon his birth, he took seven steps in each of the four directions, and wherever he set his feet, lotuses sprang up and blossomed. Finally, with one hand pointing towards the sky and the other towards the earth, he proclaimed, "In the heavens and on the earth, only I alone am the noble one." Afterwards, nine dragons appeared in the sky, pouring fragrant water from their mouths to shower the infant prince's body. It follows that, in many countries, Buddhists perform the Bathing the Buddha ceremony annually to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday, as a way to show gratitude and appreciation toward the Buddha's compassionate teachings.

Bathing the Buddha signifies cleansing our inner afflictions as we bathe the Buddha's statue. During the ceremony, we bow to the statue of the infant Siddhartha, and recite the Verse of Bathing the Buddha: "I now sincerely bathe all the Buddhas, who have cultivated pure wisdom, dignity, and virtuous merits. May sentient beings free themselves from afflictions, and realize the same true essence of all the Buddhas." Then, as we recite "Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha" three times, we pourthree separate scoops of scented water over the statue. While pouring the water, make the following vows: "( pouring the first scoop) I vow to refrain from all evil. ( pouring the second scoop) I vow to cultivate what is good. ( pouring the third scoop) I vow to deliver all sentient beings." Throughthe ritual of bathing the Buddha, we should aspire to purify our bodily, verbal, and mental actions by eliminating our greed, hatred, and delusion.

      According to the Chinese Buddhist tradition, the Buddha's Birthday falls on May 26 this year. To celebrate this festival, all are welcome to join the Bathing the Buddha ceremonies and online events organized by Dharma Drum Mountain's branches, both at home and abroad.

Bathing the Buddha online: https://www.ddm.org.tw/event/buddha/interactive_EN.html