On April 10, 2018 we will celebrate "Buddha's Birthday." Called Hanamatsuri, in Japanese (Flower Festival), it is a time of renewal. It is similar to what all religions do at this time of year.
It is a rebirth of the faith proving the faithful to be correct, that indeed the warmth does return rebirth is happening and it is a time for demonstrating gratitude through ceremony.
Our celebration/ceremony is simple. First we shift from mindlessness to mindfulness. This ceremonial break (think week-ends) lifts our heart above the fog of mind into an atmosphere of gratitude. Second we honor flowers. What a wonder a flower whether rag-weed or rose are perfect just, as they are. They are a joy when such is allowed to be seen, and if we don't see that, they still present their true Dharma. Third, we bathe the Buddha. This is a kind of cleansing similar to baptism. Spring is the renewal coming from a winter of repentance. Ah! In this spirit we take a piece from Cambodian Buddhism and bathe the monk too! You too may get wet in the process...
So bring a flower, and a friend or two if you can this Tuesday night and I'll tell the story of Shiddhartha's birth-white elephant and all...
Major events in April:
15th Viewing at the UUFF at 2:00Pm of the Video on the life of W.S. Merwin-his poetry, botany and Buddhism.
21st, a one day retreat (zazenkai) at the UUFF from 6:30AM until 4:00PM: Zazen, Training, Dharma Talks, and Dokusan.