April 8, 2010

The gilded statue of newborn Buddha at "Hana-matsuri" festival in Tokei-ji temple

The 8th day of April is traditionally considered to be Buddha's Birthday by the Buddhists of Japan. On this day, in order to cerebrate this sacred birthday, every Buddhist temple in Japan holds "Kanbutsue" (bathing Buddha festival) which is also known as "Hana-matsuri" (flower festival).

Right after his birth, Buddha stepped seven paces and declared, pointing his right hand toward heaven and his left hand toward earth, "I am my own Lord throughout heaven and earth. This realm of desire-driven beings is full of agonies and distresses. I was born for relieving all living things from these agonies and distresses."

A basin filled with sweet tea is placed in a small wooden altar beautifully decorated with various flowers. The tiny statue of newborn Buddha stands in the center of this basin.

The altar symbolizes the Lumbini village which is the birthplace of Buddha. The sweet tea represents the blessed rain which the nine sacred dragons of heaven sent to Buddha for bathing him.

The small ladles put in the basin are used by priests and worshipers to ladle up the sweet tea and to bathe the newborn baby in celebration of his birth at the ceremony.

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