Celebration for Bathing the Buddha can be regarded as the most important among all annual Buddhist ceremonies. At this time of year, many people will spare some time to go to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to attend this event during their busy schedules. This year on the morning of May 24th, a Dharma Assembly of Bathing the Buddha will be held at the Gold Buddha Monastery, so people can come to bathe the Buddha. In the afternoon, we will bow the Avatamsaka Repentance.
The purpose for Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly is to celebrate Shakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday. According to the historical records, Shakysmuni Buddha had cultivated this blessing and wisdom for three kalpas until he had perfected three kinds of enlightenments and is replete with myriads of virtues. Then he ride on a white elephant with six tusks from the inner court of Tushida Heaven descended to the Human realm on the 8th day of 4th month of the Buddhist Calendar.
After he was born, nine dragons appeared in the sky poured water on the Buddha to bathe his body. The Buddha then walked 7 steps on each of four direction with a lotus flower under his feet, he pointed one finger to the heavens and pointed one finger to the earth and said:”In the heavens above and in all that is below, only I am the most honourable.”
After saying that, he resumed the form of a baby and was named Prince Sidadha. Later, he became a fundamental teacher in Saha World. People named this day as “Bathing the Buddha Festival” to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday.
Actually, Bathing the Buddha is just an external symbolism. The real meaning of it is to sweep away the dust in our mind while we are bathing the Buddha.
In Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s lecture on Bathing the Buddha ceremony, he pointed out the real meaning of the Bathing the Buddha Dharma Assembly. He said: “The meaning behind Bathing the Buddha is to wash away our filth. Bathing the Buddha is to make our body and mind clear so it can leave the filth behind. The biggest so called “filth” is affliction. If we can get rid of affliction then the darkness in our mind will be washed clean. So we will obtain wisdom and will not do muddled things.”
To bathe the Buddha is to rid the filth in our body and mind.
We take these fragrant flowers and pure water to worship and praise the Buddha.
May these three scoops of Buddha bathing water can purify all of our minds.
Ceremony for Shakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday – 8:30 a.m.
Avatamsaka Repentance – 1:00 p.m.