Special Program: Buddha’s Birthday, May 2, 2010

On May 2nd we will celebrate Buddhas Birthday with an early start for the Sunday schedule, 7 am. There will be sitting until 9 am, followed by a break with informal, self-serve silent breakfast. The schedule will resume with the usual 10 am sits, and end early at 11:15 am to prepare for the Hanamatsuri Ceremony, which will follow around 11:30 am.

Hanamatsuri (Flower Ceremony) commemorates the birth of the historical Buddha. It is usually held on or around April 8, but some temples delay it. Shuko and Dokuro had the pleasure to participate in Hanamatsuri at Rinzai-ji in Los Angeles on April 8. The CBA Hanamatsuri has been a tradition since Houn-an Dharma Cloud Hermitage started to attend the Zazen-kai.

The ceremony involves lots of flowers, petals on the altar, and the standing baby Buddha in a bowl of sweet tea. In the beginning the Abbot opens the ceremony with prostrations while everybody chants, then four celebrants circumambulate the altar and chant. After each line of the chant the baby Buddha is bathed with a scoop of sweet tea. When the circumambulation ends after the third repetition of the chant, everyone in the community is invited to bathe the Buddha. This is especially popular with the children, who love the color of the flowers and the bathing.

After the ceremony there will be an informal light lunch served. To offset the cost of the food and the flowers a donation for the participation in the ceremony and the early schedule is requested. No sign-up is required, but let us know that you will come so we can prepare enough food.

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