Sun, May 21|
Buddha's Birthday Celebration Ceremony
Come celebrate the Buddha's Birthday at GDCM!
Time & Location
May 21, 2023, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM
GDCM, 6417 S Boulder Rd, Boulder, CO 80303, USA
About The Event
The Buddha Bathing Ceremony is an annual celebration held on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month. It commemorates the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha, the enlightened teacher whose Dharma guides sentient beings on the path to liberation.
The Buddha’s story began in India over 3000 years ago with his mother, Queen Maya. She dreamt one night of a six-tusked white elephant entering her body from the right side and knew she was pregnant. When the pregnancy came to term, Queen Maya returned to her parents’ house, as was the custom in India long ago. Along the way, she stopped to rest at Lumbini Garden where she saw a grove of fragrant Sala trees. She raised her right arm to hold a branch, and suddenly, the baby was born from her right side. As soon as his soles touched the ground, the baby Buddha took seven steps in each cardinal direction while immaculate lotus flowers bloomed under his feet. Then, with one hand pointed at the sky, and the other to the earth, he said “Heavens above and earth below, I am the one most venerated. The triple realm is suffering from which I will deliver all.”
The whole earth shook then. Devas threw down heavenly flowers; the four Heavenly Kings showered the baby Buddha’s golden body with 12 kinds of fragrant water made from precious blossoms; and the nine celestial dragons gushed two streams of water from their mouths, one hot and one cold, to bathe the baby. All beings in the heavens and earth rejoiced at the Buddha’s appearance.
Buddhist disciples celebrate the birth of Buddha by holding the Buddha Bathing Ceremony. In this ceremony, a statue of the baby Buddha is placed in a fountain flowing with fragrant water and adorned with fresh flowers. After chanting and making offerings, participants take turns ladling the water and washing the Buddha while chanting the Bathing the Buddha Gatha in praise of his merits and virtues. Bathing the Buddha is also to symbolically wash away the greed, anger, and ignorance in our mind, and return to its inherent purity and limitless wisdom.
In the words of Grand Master Weichueh, “When bathing the Buddha, we should bring forth a mind of respect, equality, and gratitude. In this way, celebrating the Buddha’s birthday has immeasurable merits. The Buddha left his wisdom, compassion, and Dharma in the world for all posterity. When we practice according to these teachings, we can liberate ourselves from suffering and achieve true joy, so we must have immeasurable gratitude for the Buddha. By reciting his name, chanting sutras, and bathing the Buddha to celebrate his birthday, we use these practices to express gratitude—to recognize kindness, develop deep appreciation, and repay the actions of others. Through these practices, we purify and calm our minds, perform introspection, and maintain a mind of compassion, equality, and respect. Thus, we inspire ourselves to bring forth the pure self-nature, by “entering the principle through the practice.” This is the significance and purpose of bathing the Buddha.This event celebrates the birth of the Buddha.