Happy Birthday Buddha!

 

By: Ebony Joseph

Do good deeds, speak good words, think good thoughts.

Words to live by. At least for the Buddha. Hundreds of Buddhism practitioners and spectators alike gathered in Sydney’s Darling Harbor on May 11th and 12th  for the 19th annual Buddha’s Birthday Festival.

Organized by the Fo Guang Shan Nan Tien Temple, this multicultural affair shed a spotlight on an aspect of the strong Asian culture that is present in Australia. With being 17% of Sydney’s population being Asian, and number the of global migrants growing, it is apparent that the diversity in Sydney’s ethnic and religious culture will continue to call for similar events.

Buddhists follow the path of the Enlightened One, Siddhartha Guatama, calling Buddhists to follow the Four Noble Truths, which reject worldly attachments and declare suffering as necessary path to reach enlightenment, the highest attainable state in the Buddhist faith.

What is Buddhism?

A rainbow of lanterns lined the pathways, as crowds navigated through event booths. From art and souvenir trinkets, to authentic Asian cuisine, event booths gave visitors a sneak peak in the Buddhist culture of Sydney.

Program exhibitions through out the day kept the event lively, guests included Lion Dancers, Season Drums and Blessings.

Entertainment and enlightenment blended seamlessly as educational seminars were held discussing topics ranging from “What is Buddhism” to “ Enhancing Meditation Techniques”

As the sun began to set behind the harbor the clamor and chatter of the day was hushed as the gong rang three times to signal the start of prayer. The air was still with serenity as practitioners stood unmoved in the prayer pose. Three monks rose to stage and began to chant.

Guests who did participate in the group prayer were invited to watch or participate in an individual instruction led prayer and candle lighting. Optional donations were available to benefit the Nan Tien Temple.

Nan Tien Temple

I chose my lotus candle, representing human nature and knelt in front of the Bhudda’s small statue.

“Do good deeds, speak good words, think good thoughts.”

As the gong rang I poured the ceremonial water onto the statue and recited those words, so essential to Buddhist faith and representative of the atmosphere that day.

Do good deeds, speak good words, think good thoughts.

I lit the candle, closed my eyes and made a wish.

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