Two thousand and five hundred years ago, on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month, ;;Siddhartha Gautama, a former Indian prince, attained enlightenment under the evening stars and founded Buddhism.
Upon the attainment of enlightenment, Buddha aspired to purify human minds through Dharma, the teachings of Buddha.
In remembrance of Buddha and his birthday, Buddhists and their organizations around the world celebrate the Buddha’s birthday every May through the ritual of bathing the Buddha.
The Buddha Bathing ritual represents the individual’s spiritual growth and the ability to attain the spirit of Buddha.
In the ceremony, Buddhists shower the Buddha statue with fragrant water, perfumed by many aromatic herbs such as agalwood (aloes wood), white sandalwood, sweet pine, Cnidium officinale (a medicinal herb), and Curcuma Longa (a fragrant herb).
This is a reenactment of the heavenly dragons showering the Buddha’s body with fragrant rain upon Buddha’s birth.
Not only is the ritual one of the most important Buddhist ceremonies, it is also a social and cultural event that prompts one’s spiritual development.
Bathing the Buddha is not just about remembering the enlightened one – Buddha, but also symbolizes the purification of our minds.
By bathing the Buddha, we accumulate the merits to help all sentient beings within the six realms to be free from suffering and to guide them to cultivate a spiritual path.
Perhaps someone will question why Buddha needs us to bath Him?
Truly, bathing Buddha is about cleansing our minds, awakening our Buddha within, and eventually attaining the purest Dharma body, Dharmakaya.
In today’s world, we pursue fame and wealth relentlessly. We may be rich in the materialistic sense but our spirituality is poor due to increasing stress and frustration.
Bathing the Buddha helps us to contemplate Buddha’s teachings and to cleanse our troubled minds. It reminds us to always to have a pure heart.
Similar to taking a bath that cleans the physical body, bathing the Buddha helps to remove our afflictions and purify our minds.
If we can remind ourselves to contemplate and reflect in Buddha’s teaching in our everyday lives, purification of our minds is an attainable goal.
Tzu Chi Northwest Regin held the Buddha Bathing ceremony at its center on Saturday, May 8th this year.
During the day, it was open to the public at 10am, 2pm, and 4pm.
In addition to remembering and celebrating the Buddha’s birthday, the Branch wished that through the Buddha Bathing ceremony, every attendee would be able to purify his/her mind, remove all afflictions, and realize his/her intrinsic Buddha nature.
Moreover, seeing the endless natural and man-made disasters today, bathing Buddha faithfully signifies both the elimination of an individual’s obstructive karma and a prayer for world peace.
Besides the Dharma brothers and sisters from the Branch, many citizens from the local community attended the ceremony.
The publicity group prepared mini prayer cards for all attendees to write down their wishes to post on the board.
The staff meeting, coincidentally held the next day, also allowed the Dharma brothers and sisters at the other branches the opportunity to attend the Buddha Bath ceremony.
Furthermore, the teachers at the children’s classes guided their students at the Buddha Bath ceremony and taught stories about Buddha’s birth in the afternoon.