Buddha Shakyamuni, Siddhartha is believed to have been a prince who was born into a wealthy family in what is now called Nepal. A ‘Buddha’ is a title rather than a name and means the enlightened or awakened one. According to Buddhist history, Buddha Shakyamuni was born in Lumbini Park on 8 April, 623 B.C.E. When the prince was born, there were celestial portents and signs. Flowers bloomed and heavenly music was heard. Lovely scents filled the air and gentle rain fell from the sky to bathe him.
Immediately after his birth, the Buddha without help or support walked the seven steps in each direction of the world. For each step he walked, a lotus flower materialised and blossomed under his feet. With one hand pointing to the sky and the other hand pointing to the ground, he announced:
“No further births have I to endure, for this is my last body. Now shall I destroy and pluck out the root and sorrow that is caused by birth and death (Samsara)”
Buddha Day is a celebration of the Buddha’s birthday. Many Buddhists will visit their local temple, do good deeds, take part in chanting and meditation, reflect on the Buddha’s teachings, and bring offerings to the temple. Celebration activities at Yun Yang Temple includes the Bathing of the Buddha Ceremony, Purification of Our Minds Ceremony and chanting of the Diamond Sutra. As we bathe the statue of Prince Siddhartha with this scoop of holy water in our hands, we shall pray sincerely to be rid of the defilements of greed, hatred and ignorance, so that our body, speech and mind may remain pure.