The Buddha Bathing Ceremony
In celeration of the Buddha’s birthday and Mother’s Day
On May 12, 2019, The DDM LA Center held a Buddha Bathing and Lamp Offering ceremony in celebration of the Buddha's birthday as well as Mother's Day.
The ceremony started at 10am, and the Grand Buddha Hall where the ceremony was held was packed with over 120 attendees. Before the beginning of the ceremony, the Acting Director of the center, Venerable Chang-Yue gave a Dharma Talk and introduced the meaning of bathing the statue of Prince Siddhartha. According to the legend, right after the birth of the Prince, he began to walk seven steps forward. Then, with one hand pointing to the sky and the other pointing to the ground, he said: "In heavens and on the earth, only I am singularly supreme". At this point, flowers rained down from heaven and there were deities pouring fragrant water to bathe the Prince's body. Since then, Buddhists have been celebrating the Buddha’s birthday as a tradition by performing the Buddha Bathing ceremony, where they pour fragrant water over the shoulders or the head of the statue of Prince Siddhartha, while chanting the verse of merit-transfer:
"We're now coming to bathe the Tathagatas
For accumulating purity, wisdom, dignity, merit and virtue.
May all sentient beings be free from the impurities.
And all realize the pure Dharma body of the Tathagatas."
Venerable Chang-Yue further explained that the ceremony symbolizes the washing away of greed, hatred and ignorance, and the purification of one's heart and mind. The Buddha's birthday also reminds us that only human beings can attain complete enlightenment as Buddha, while the beings from other realms do not have the causes and conditions to learn and practice the Dharma. However, when a person’s faith is not strong enough, with the great vow of the Buddha one can still develop diligence in the practice of Dharma, and ultimately achieve complete compassion and wisdom.
After the Buddha Bathing ceremony, attendees made an offering of lights to the Buddha, which symbolizes using wisdom to break ignorance and the suffering that follows to. At the end of the ceremony, each attendee received a Chinese longevity peach bun, as a blessing from the Center of good health and long life.