April 8th of the lunar calendar marks the birth of Buddha. On May 12, 2019, Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute will be commemorating the birth of Buddha.
We will be giving thanks to Shakyamuni Buddha for guiding us in the path to ultimate happiness. We warmly invite you to participate in this dharma ceremony by offering fresh flowers, scented water and rejoicing in these offerings.
The Origins of Buddha Bathing Ceremony
Buddha’s life is marked by twelve major events, also known as “Twelve Great Deeds of the Buddha’s Life”: descending from Tushita, conception into the womb, birth in the garden of Lumbini (present day Nepal), training in the arts and sciences, marriage and life as a royal, renunciation of samsara, practice of austerity and asceticism, giving up austerity and asceticism and taking His place at the Vajrasana in Bodh Gaya, victory over of the leader of Maras, attainment of enlightenment, teaching the dharma, and attaining nirvana.
Mayadevi had successfully carried the Buddha-to-Be for ten months without any complications or pain. Buddha was born in the garden of Lumbini (present day Nepal) under extremely auspicious circumstances. All the Bodhisattvas and enlightened beings were all present to welcome and show their respect to Buddha for coming to the sentient world to relieve all from their sufferings.
How “Buddha Bathing Ceremony” Came About
Roughly 2,600 years ago, in Kapila (present day Nepal), there was a garden named Lumbini. It was a pleasant grove, overflowing with a rich profusion of fruits and flowers, birds chirping everywhere. Kapila was ruled by King Shudhodhana and his wife, Queen Mayadevi. Near the end of her pregnancy, she took a trip to her parental home to have the baby there with her mother. On the way, she stopped by Lumbini garden. Desiring to rest in the garden, the queen instructed her party to put camp there. She stepped out of her palanquin and reached with her right hand to grasp one of the branches of a flowering tree. No sooner had she done so than she felt the throes of giving birth.
Standing thus, with her hand to the branch, she delivered, and the Buddha-to-Be emerged from his mother’s right side and fell amongst lotus flowers. Buddha walked seven steps and with one finger pointing to the sky and one finger pointing to the ground, proclaimed that he would bring peace and happiness to all. Upon proclamation, heaven and earth shook, and all the worlds emanated light.
At this point, all the enlightened beings in the sky poured down streams of clear water, one was warm and one was cool, and bathed the Buddha. Buddha’s body was golden and possessed thirty-two signs, and emanated light, shining on all the worlds. The enlightened beings performed celestial music, singing songs of praise, scattering beautiful flowers all around, and the colours from their heavenly clothes and jewels shone down from the sky.