Alms Round and Prayer Ceremony Held on Buddha Bathing Festival for Welfare and Peace to All

LY-Temple | 2017-05-12 | View: 2242

The birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha--the eighth day of the fourth lunar month--also known as Buddha Bathing Festival, falls on May 3 this year. As recorded in Buddhist texts, there were extraordinary and auspicious signs at Prince Siddhartha’s birth. Seven lotus flowers sprung up beneath his feet as he took seven steps in each of the four directions. Pointing his right hand to the sky and ground, he proclaimed, “In heaven above and on earth below, I am alone the honored one.” At that moment, the sky was clearing with brilliant sunshine, flowers blooming and birds singing. Dragons also appeared in the sky spurting two streams of divine water that gently cascaded down to bathe him. Since then, Buddhists all over the world hold a Dharma assembly to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday by using fragrant water to bathe the likeness of baby Prince Siddhartha. Therefore, the Buddha’s birthday is also called Buddha Bathing Festival.

In the morning, a solemn Buddha Bathing Dharma Assembly was held in Lingyin Temple. With the chanting of mantras and the Buddha’s name in Mahavira Hall, the fourfold assembly of disciples put their palms together and expressed their gratitude to Buddha Shakyamuni for his birth to the Saha World. Abbot of Lingyin Temple Ven. Guangquan first ladled fragrant water three times over the golden statue of baby Prince Siddhartha. Buddhist monks lay Buddhists and Buddhist believers then successively poured fragrant water to bathe the statue.

After the ceremony, Chairman of the Buddhist Association of Hangzhou and Abbot of Lingyin Temple Ven. Guangquan led over 500 monks from Hangzhou Buddhist temples and Hangzhou Buddhist Academy to participate in the 2017 Buddhist Land of Southeast China (Hangzhou) Alms Round. Such a charitable activity strictly follows the Buddhist tradition – all monks are dressed in a Buddhist robe with a large bamboo hat over the head and an alms bowl in the hand.

The monks set off rom Faxi Temple (also known as Shang Tianzhu), passed Fajing Temple (also know as Zhong Tianzhu, 法净禅寺) and Fajing Temple (also know as San Tianzhu, 法镜禅寺) along Tianzhu Road, headed towards Lingyin Temple. Along the path, they received alms from Buddhist believers and devotees. The stately and orderly appearance of the monks signifies the true Dharma and modern Buddhism, as well as the atmosphere of serenity and harmony. From such a Buddhist tradition of alms round, the general public can experience the portrayal of how Buddha and his Sangha practiced Buddhism in ancient times.

After the alms round, a grand prayer ceremony was held by the fourfold assembly of disciples in Hangzhou in front of Mahavira Hall of Lingyin Temple. Fifteen venerable Buddhist masters presided over the ceremony including Ven. Guangquan, Ven. Dingben, Ven. Yuezhen, Ven. Zhiyuan, Ven. Jiexing, etc. All the Buddhist masters chanted mantras and prayed for a peaceful and harmonious world.

The Buddhist Association of Hangzhou has coordinated the alms round charitable event for nine consecutive years since 2009. The activity has gained strong support from all circles of the society, especially from the fourfold assembly of disciples. A total number of over 3 million yuan has been raised in the alms rounds held over the past eight years and the donations have all been used in social and charitable causes for public good.

Ven. Guangquan respectfully inviting the statue of baby Prince Siddhartha

Ven. Guangquan bathing the statue of Buddha

Alms round

Prayer ceremony

Yunlin Tea Ceremony