Namu Amida Butsu
APRIL IS THE MONTH WHEN BUDDHISTS celebrate Buddha Shakyamuni’s birth.Buddha Shakyamuni is the founder of Buddhism and has guided uncountable numbers ofpeople with his spiritual wisdom and compassion,which we call Dharma. We, Mahayana Buddhists,celebrate and express our joy and gratitude for the birth of the Buddha on April 8th.
Buddha Shakyamuni was born at the Lumbini Garden, which is located in the country of Nepal about 2,550 years ago. There are many stories about his birth. These stories express his greatness and the wonderful guidance he provided.
One story reported that when the Buddha was born, the earth shook, soft music sounded,beautiful flowers bloomed, and thousands of flower petals fell from the sky, along with sweet rain that bathed the body of the baby Buddha.The Buddha then stood up, took seven steps,and pointed his right finger to the sky and his left hand to the earth and proclaimed: "Above the Earth and below the Heaven, I alone am the World Honored One."
This story says that immediately after Buddha’s birth, he stood up and took seven steps is difficult to believe, but it is a legend. However, the seven steps means that through the guidance of the Buddha, we are able to overcome the six realms of life, which is—the human’s world, heaven, hell, hungry hell, animals’ hell, and fighting world—and be able to be reborn in the land of Buddha and become a Buddha.
Yes, this is a great story that was told by one of Buddha’s followers many years ago. Others have told stories of the Buddha by saying "How great he was as a leader and a spiritual teacher." The following are the Buddha’s guidance:(From The Teaching of Buddha, Causation)
- The world is full of suffering. Birth, old age,sickness, and death are sufferings. These are the Truths of suffering.
- The cause of human suffering is undoubtedly found in the thirsts of the physical body and in the illusion of worldly passion. This is called the Truth of the Cause of Suffering.
- If desired, which lies at the root of all human passion, can be removed, then passion will die out and all human suffering will end. This is call the Truth of the Cessation of Suffering.
- In order to enter into a state where there is no desire and no suffering, one must follow a certain Path as follows; Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Behavior, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. This is called the Truth of the Noble Path to the Cessation of the Cause of Suffering.
So, anyone who is able to accept Buddha’s guidance, his wisdom and compassion, will be able share his wonderful, thoughtful mind and ideas, which are Buddha’s compassionate heart and wisdom.
With his kindness, our lives can be more meaningful and happier. Even if people come from different places, and speak different languages, if they accept Buddha’s guidance, without knowing it, they will show kind actions towards one another. Yes, we are all able to pass it on to our community and to the next generation.
Hanamatsuri, the flower festival, is celebrated as Buddha Shakyamuni’s birth and is considered a very special occasion for all of us to rejoice in the happiness with each other.
Wailuku Hongwanji Mission will be observing its’ annual Hanamatsuri service together with infant rites ceremony on April 9th at our temple at 8:00 a.m. Please come and join us on this special day and celebrate Buddha’s birth with our entire temple members and friends