Buddha's Birthday

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Sunday Lecture

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today's the truth and to type and deserves morning everybody
for some blue

well happy easter
everyone today's easter sunday know
so happy easter
and it's also one of the days of passover i don't know which one but
fourth or fifth or something third to happy passover
our religion keeps getting bigger and bigger as we take a more the am
an open ourselves to more and of course most of all happy buddha's birthday
we even have a balloon to prove it
and today i want to give a very short lecture mostly to am
share with you my good feeling about
buddha and i'm a fan of buddha and put is really great huh
so i want to share with you my good feeling about buddha and also today's program is quite different from the usual sunday programs are we have to we need to prepare ourselves and you know for what comes next so i will also want to do that and my lecture today

so this time of year it seems many traditions
celebrate renewal birth happiness
and quite often there is some suffering out of which renewal happiness emerges and this is certainly the case in the story of easter and passover as well
and it's always true in our lives
by buddha's birthday is almost entirely positive and happy so we have to make an effort today whatever are
problems are personally and goodness knows the world has plenty of problems but still today's a day for us to make an effort to find some happiness and emphasize happiness
there are three important days in the life of the buddha that we like to venerate that are really seem really important to mark and venerate buddha's birthday which is we're celebrating today although the tradition in japan is that buddha's birthday is celebrated on april eighth and it's been are accustomed to
market on the sunday closest april eighth which is today so that's one of the three important days in the second one is buddha's enlightenment day which is december is in the far east
and we celebrate that one with a joyous seven day session where we
sit zazen day and night and we try to stay up all night sitting the last night
and then in the morning we go out and try to imitate buddha by looking at the morning star and seeing if anything happens
and seems like most year years we go ahead tear and it's foggy
so nothing happens we don't even see the morningstar
but that's a very good so does in away don't think happen not to see anything at all
ah and then after that we we have a big ceremony where we march around throwing flowers for a while and get delirious and when when when you come in on the day the day of the ceremony you find flower petals scattered all over the room
the zendo here so that's on december eighth then the third day of the year of buddha's life that we commemorate his february the fifteenth
which in the far east is
partner holiday the day that buddha passes away passes out of this life and that one we mark with a big ceremony formal ceremony as well as another kind of a pageant which is very quiet and peaceful here in the evening in the dark and zendo which we had a few months ago

oh no in in
sri lanka thailand and other lot of buddhist countries the telescope these three events until one day which they called basic which is usually may may the sixth early may but in the far east there are three different dates
so we seems important for us to mark these days to remember them to meditate on the life of the buddha as our own life and to express our appreciation for these three days each with its own quality
in our own way to make a buddhist culture out of our own feeling and our own expression here in america
it's important that we than we do this have our own expression for our own feeling
so all these three days are really great and i i get a kick out of all three of 'em i get very excited for his birthday or partner of on a day or the day all very exciting wonderful days
but maybe buddhists birthdays the most wonderful of all because it's completely unalloyed joy you know part of on a day it's joyful and sad
enlightenment day is very joyful and also involves huge effort
but but his birthday we get away with just a joy
we don't need to sadness or the effort only joy so that's good
buddha's birthday in japan is called holiday missouri flower festival and it celebrates not only the birth of buddha but also the springtime
children flowers and we do the same here this is really as a ceremony a festival of flowers and children as you'll see in a few moments
and it's a ceremony a day to express
the possibility and the fact of renewal
that renewal is always possible always close at hand not only on april eighth
but every day of our lives each moment possesses
a quality of sadness but also strongly a quality of renewal
the possibility of starting again fresh
ah i think our colleague priests down the road yvonne round as a calligraphy that
suzuki roshi made some years ago which he made in his own handwriting in english and kind of beautiful careful handwriting in english and it says
do not say too late
so on buddha's birthday we remember that it is never too late
to begin absolutely fresh all over again every moment has that potential
even in the last moment of our lives
breathing in with awareness and breathing out with awareness it is actually possible literally possible
to begin again fresh with joy
so this day reminds us all of that
henna reminds us that the same is true not only for us as individuals
but for our whole world
that even though the world has a grave difficulties and now we're also aware
tragedies in eastern europe
you know the terrible bombings the terrible so-called ethnic cleansing with people on the road either homes at gunpoint
ah it's really awful
today i think after the lecture will have some announcement as to how you can help with that
but no matter how much help we can give it's very little and the tragedy goes on
but even so we have to remember that renewal is possible happiness as possible peace is possible
all situations
they're within them if we can be wise enough and persistent enough
potential for healing
and it has to start with us with are finding within ourselves the spirit of peace and healing
and with are coming into touch in our own hearts with a very strong intention
to put the benefit of others
at the center
what our lives are at the center of what motivates us in our lives and today reminds us of that maybe we don't have a specific plan maybe we don't know exactly how we're going to renew the world
but i don't like today reminds us that it can be done
that it must be done and that we are certain that we will do it someday somehow if we all can build up this good spirit and cooperate definitely we can bring peace and we knew our world

so that's a little bit but this feeling the spirit of today
so as i said i'm a great fan of shakyamuni buddha
the more i learn about him the more impressed i am
with what a wonderful person he is was
with the help of some good luck as somebody might say
or somebody else might say lots of positive karma for many past lives
he was able to rediscover
an ancient away
for people to live in peace and harmony
not only that but after finding that way to help others and personally be liberated
he decided to dedicate his entire life
tirelessly every single day
teaching others this way
and to carefully with a lot of wisdom and carefulness setting up a tradition that would enable that teaching to go on past his lifetime
so that even now almost two thousand and five hundred years since the time that the buddha lived and walked the dusty rhodes of india
we can still walk this path
we can still each of us in our own way
live the life that buddha list
practice the practiced that buddha practiced
and it doesn't matter what our situation is doesn't matter if we're a man or woman if were heterosexual or homosexual young or old
rich or poor smart or dumb healthy or unhealthy wider black asian western native american whatever we are whatever our circumstances each one of us
in our own unique way can practice this great wide profound way that the mood of practiced
and we can live the life of buddha the only way
are determined to do so
so that's why i really appreciate the buddha and why i really respect him for
making this re-discovery and for sharing it with us and his kind kind way
so buddha really was an accomplished person
just like you and me
who lived on the earth in the same way that we do
and when we say buddha we also referred to a wonderful myth
this the aspect of buddha that that is not a person exactly but a mythical being
a being person who lives lived not only so many years ago but also is very much alive today in our imaginations in our dreams and in our aspirations
so today we're going to
an act before your very eyes
the birth of the buddha
but just so you can appreciate a little bit the enactment i'll tell you a word about how the buddha came to be born
his mother queen maya
before ah the buddha was conceived had a dream of a six tusked white elephant a very auspicious sign indeed
later as it was the custom in those days when she was about to give birth she journeyed from the place where she lived
ah to her home where she was raised and on the way in the forest that lumbini she gave birth to the baby buddha while standing up holding onto a tree limb
and she didn't do it in the usual way
she didn't give birth to boot up from out of her womb she gave birth to the buddha from out of her side and unlike the children of lake woebegone
the buddha was not an average child
he was way above average
because as the myth goes
he popped out of his mother's side and immediately went for a walk
taking seven steps
and pointing his finger above one finger above and toward this sky and the other finger toward the earth said above the heavens
and below the earth
i alone am the world honored one i am born for enlightenment
for the benefit of all bins
so he could walk and talk and very early age hitch
we were studying in our class one of the kinds of the book of record which says someone says sir
coding and all palm the the way of the a great way is not difficult just avoid picking and choosing how can we avoid picking and choosing
and master zhao zhao said
above the heavens and below the earth i alone in the world honored one

so the buddha is a great person and the bullet is a wonderful miss
and also more than a person we can respect and more than a myth whose unfolding we can enjoy the buddha is also something at the same time much more esoteric than any of this and also much more ordinary
because what we also mean by buddha and what we mostly mean by buddha especially in our tradition
is the deepest
of life itself of reality of self
a buddha means the accurate and alive nature of what is
and so when we celebrate the birth of the buddha we are celebrating the birth of everything
of each one of us have all plants and animals of the sky and all a space and time appearing right now right here in each moment of our lives all the depth
and we could ever hope to see if only we could just take a deep breath and let go of everything in allow it to be there this is really how it is
the awake and nature of all things this is what buddha is most fundamentally most esoteric lee and most ordinarily
on each moment of each life buddha is born
moment after moment and on each moment enlightenment a curse
so for convenience because we can't have balloons everyday
every moment we'd pick a day we say let's have balloons today and call this
buddha's birthday
but actually it's always put his birthday
so i think that we should say happy birthday to each other because it's our birthday but i think with you wouldn't mind i will have it i had thought that maybe in one of it
what is it is the practice of the vision of all sentient beings as buddhists actually looking at an obsession being and that seeing
you know an ordinary person
with a history and personality and all this but seeing
something profound behind including all that but beyond that in that person's face saying that person actually as buddha
and this is a wonderful practice if we could see everyone in our lives as buddha think what that would be like
so i wonder if we could maybe try that practice right now i would ask all of you to take a moment to breathe and then turned to the person next to you and actually make the effort to see that person
as buddha
try your best
and then say to each other happy birthday
would you do that this try that the to each other

so happy birthday to everyone
i want to just before i explain the details about the program i want to just read you one little section from
the advertising sutra which is
a great sudre this is a
the most amazing
religious texts that i've ever encountered in any tradition it's the most extravagant
excessive thing that you ever saw its thousands of pages long
there is in three volumes each one this fat we once had a class in the sutra took if i think for five years
to read it
and the last
part of the sutra is what the pilgrimage or this person in sudan who goes to fifty three different
buddhist saints and teachers each one teach him something different and one of the people that he goes to his lady maya
the buddhist mother
and he prostrated himself before her and receives teachings from her in in this sutra it is it describes the a pregnancy
of lady maya so i thought you'd want to know about this and i read a passage from the avatar zika sutra
we have in our community now a number of pregnancies
so this this passage
honours all mother's actually because the story of buddha
deeply honours and appreciates the powerful practice of motherhood
as being the
the spontaneous fulfillment of great vows with the body software the source of their power is is there about their tremendous wish to benefit others that they hold throughout many many lifetimes and so this is the case with
queen maya and i think all mothers so after he prostrated himself to her she says to him
i have a tan and enlightened liberation magical manifestation of knowledge of great vows
imbued with this liberation i am the mother
not only a shocking when he booted but if all enlightening beings in their final existence in all the world's in this world ocean where viral china is miraculous manifestation of birth as an enlightening being in the final existence takes place all those enlightening beings and this if
if your mother if you're about to be a mother everyone can say this to themselves all these enlightening beings grow in my belly
and come forth from my right side so here are two in this great city of copy all of us to as wife of the king ciudadano i became the mother of the enlightening being siddhartha buddha by the great inconceivable miracle of the birth of an enlightening being at that time i was in the house of king ciudadano
and when the time of the enlightening beings descent from the heaven of contentment had arrived from every poor the enlightening being emanated this means of buddha from every poor he emanated as many rays of light
as adams in untold borderlands
a raid with the qualities of the birth of all enlightening beings known as the light originating from the qualities of birth of all buddhas
got that those rays of light
illuminate the whole world then descended on my body and entered into every poor of my body beginning with my head
as soon as those light rays of the enlightening being had entered me
they caused the spheres of light at the front of the enlightened beings light rays to be manifest in my body
and the supernal manifestations of miracles attending the birth of all enlightening beings were visible and as soon as those light rays of the enlightening being had entered my body i saw all the enlightening beings whose burst miracles were shown in the sphere as at the front of the enlightening beings light rays as they sat on the buddha's lion throne at the side of enlightenment surrounded by congregations of
enlightening beings honored by the leaders of the world turning the wheel of the teaching so all over everywhere you see there were all these buddhists appearing everywhere and all these world systems each one with their own congregation and people honoring them the so on she saw i also saw all the routers with whom the those buddhist associated as they carried out enlightening practices and a
last i also saw mystical projections of their initial inspiration attainment of enlightenment turning the wheel of teaching final extinction and a pure arrays of all buddha lands as well as the multitudes of emanations of those buddha's pervading the cosmos in each moment of consciousness
when those rosy light
entered my body
my body outreached all worlds
and my belly
became as vast as space
and yet did not go beyond the physical human size
upon your appearance in my body of the furnishings of the enlightening beings abode in the womb
the enlightening being together with as many enlightening beings as adams in ten buddha fields that's one big group enlightening days
all the same vow
to benefit others
all the same practice the same roots of goodness the same state of liberation and the same state of knowledge adept at the same mystic projections having accomplished the same endeavor adept at the same practice having purify the same spiritual body able to assume an infinite variety of physical forms expert in the project
section of the endeavors of universally good enlightening beings respectfully attended by chiefs of all worlds descended from the heaven of contentment by the great miracle of an enlightening beings appearing to pass away from all heavens of contentment appearing to become regenerated in all worlds from each habit of contentment too early existence following skill and means of developing
inconceivable numbers of sentient beings to maturity
alerting all intoxicated diluted beings detaching from all attachments emanating a great network of light beings the spelling or darkness from arles stopping all evils and miseries putting an end to all hellish ways of being bombing and all that wiped out making our beings aware of their past deeds rescue
in all being superior in the presence of all beings this one the center from the habit of contentment with his retinue
and entered my belly
once all of them were in my belly
they walked around
sometimes the pregnant women know this one
there are all in my belly and they were all walking around inside
with strides as big as a brilliant world the universe
even as big as worlds as numerous as adams and untold borderlands
also all the untold congregations of enlightening beings at the feet of all brutus and all worlds and the ten directions entered my belly in every moment of thought to see the miracle of the enlightening beings dwelling in the womb
so there was a crowd in their spectators as well as participants
and the chief gods of all the heavens and there are various happens the thirty three heavens and everyone had their boss god all of all the gods came into the womb of queen maya to see an honor the buddha this is a lot more than three wise men right
the have to listen to the teaching and humor his discourse
yet even though it took in all those multitudes my belly was not enlarged nor did this body of mine become any more than a human body
why was this
because of the development of this enlightening liberation of the magic knowledge of great vows so just the strong intention to benefit others no matter what caused this miracle to happen
just as i received the enlightening being in my belly in this world so that i likewise do so in our worlds in the billion world universe and with the same miraculous manifestation so everywhere queen maya is occurring in a million worlds with the same say and taking place yet
this body of mine is neither dual nor nando neither single or multiple this is because of the development of this enlightening liberation of the magic of the knowledge of the great vows
and just as i was the mother of this buddha viral china shakyamuni sarah's i the mother of infant infinite buddha's before whenever an enlightening being was spontaneously born in the calyx of a lotus there i became
lotus pond goddess and received the enlightening being in the world recognize me as the project tricks
the big mama
of all enlightening beings and whatever buddha land and enlightening being appeared i became an enlightenment site goddess there
no buddha without the goddess right never happened
deus and whatever raise enlightening beings manifested birth in the world in their final existence so in so many ways that i become the mother of the enlightening things so since also buddhist mother's day too
anyway if you ever have a few years despair
i would recommend reading the avatar skus center which i think has now been published in a single volume the costs a small fortune from shambala
bless bless their souls they keep these things and print which you can imagine do not become best sellers but they they do keep them apprentice kind of wonderful
but it was an experience in and of itself simply to read this sutra because it's it's just the whole thing is like the only even more extravagant than
so his are going to do today soon after i'm almost done it's just going explain a few details and and ago and then soon after that you hear the big bell again and that'll be a fifteen minute signal that we will
gather outside on the lawn and a big circle
for our ceremony first the ceremony
and the ceremony will begin with
a wonderful procession of children and flowers and the children are now working on this getting the flowers to and there's a big cart elephant card that comes out carried by the children and they parade through around and they carry parasols and and they'll be flowers and we get to go ooh and as they come out
and then they'll deposit the flowers and the parasols and then after that they'll be a procession of a few broken down priests will come in then after after the nice fresh children
just for a dose of you know like reality broken down priests come in
and were wary of risks and self worth and to do make statements and make offerings to buddha will chant the heart sutra and then at some point
we will
start chanting on homage shakyamuni buddha oh amen shakyamuni buddha and we have our big temple drama there are no boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom so let's turn it on
a shock yeah my neighbor on a shot down on a boat on a shock yamane but your experts perfect so we'll just keep doing that for a while and while we do that we will this is always the hard part is somehow it's hard to get everybody moving
but we will endeavour to move in a big circle circumambulate and because in the middle you see there's gonna be the pagoda with a baby buddha on it which i'll explain the moment and then will circumambulate clockwise which means that are right shoulder
will be
facing his shoulder can't face kenneth but you get the idea the right shoulder turn toward the center so we'll go round and round as we chant om om and shocking when he would and this is also one of the most ancient practices in buddhism circumvent the practice of circumambulate one
so i would encourage you to to really enjoy the circumambulate and try to concentrate your mind around this appreciation of all that i've been speaking about this morning who buddha really is
and then robin doing that we will end somehow contrived to bring in two lines from either side toward the pagoda and in the pagoda is a statue that just like this i was saying
and surrounded a standing on a little island in the middle of a sea of sweet water sweetened water and they'll be some dippers in the island so then we'll take turns everybody will come up and dip sweet water and bathe the baby buddha poor a little ladle food for
full of sweet water over the big his head which is the traditional japanese way of expressing our appreciation and the be nice to encourage the children especially to do this
and let them go first or should they not have to wait too long
and the really do it is just come up and and bow to the buddha and get the ladle and tip it over the head of the buddha and then bow and stand away and let the next person do it and two or three people can probably do it at the same time
but when you do it i would encourage you to be very very quiet and really appreciate the moment so if you can find in the moment of pouring sweetwater over the buddhists maybe buddhist statue of the baby buddha's head if you can appreciate in that moment
how the world stops as it always does
and everything comes fresh i think you can actually experienced that if you take your time and go slow so we'll do that and that i could go on while the rest of us are going round and big circle on mom and shocking him and at a certain point it'll seem as if that's enough of that so will stop and you can tell because the drum will stop
boom boom pump and then when the drum stops will finish the ceremony by the will chant and dedication dedicating the merit and so forth and enumerating the many offerings that we have made including all the wild flowers and that's usually the kenneth interesting to hear a whole list of all the
wildflowers we've gathered for the ceremony and then the procession will leave meantime while all that's going on anybody who hasn't yet made the offering of sweet tea can continue to do that you don't have to stop will just procession will leave
you ever and everybody's had a chance to offer the sweet tea we'll set up for the
pageant and that means bringing in all the gear and everything like that and you can find a spot around the circle to set up your picnics or blankets or whatever you want to sit make an audience around
sometimes people wanting to get a good seat try to set up their picnic before the ceremony but that's no good don't do that because it was watching around right and they going to march all over your lunch
you don't want to do that so we're in type of ceremony is over and then set out your
place to sit but make sure that your i think are marca and delineate an area and you have to you'll you'll see behind that area so you don't honor on the to foreign the lawn where the pageant will be taking place and then when everybody's ready we will have the pattern
now in the pageant doesn't we've been here before know that it's audience participation
the pageant is a mime pageant with masks and music
but there's a palm that we have a narrator who recites eighteen vs nineteen verse poem and at the end of each verse
there's a little mine and then another person in a mine and at the end of each mime their big bella struck and then we are supposed to say homage to the world honored one before we were saying oh mama shocking when he would remember this time we say homage to the world honored one and this year
there they met up a little tune to go with it which they taught me over the telephone which i tried to sing all morning so that i could sing it for you which i've not forgotten
usually we do it in a monotone but this year that have little to and anybody here know the to
that it
the one
it's to that well
two there were no so it's really fun if everybody gets in the act and really that's it out and then brings up the energy than that performers will perform it would even more enthusiasm and so let's try when the bell extract everybody's
thing that
and then after the passage is over i usually devolves into dancing and just chaos but somewhere in there that there will be i think we're serving birthday cake with his birthday
and we'll just have a good time
then don't forget anything
di da t also with the kingdom what
dharma tones would that or
sing ah i didn't know it know how do you like that i never heard of different tokens
but apparently there's a singer's the dermatologist
and who knows what other surprises await us
so i think that i will go away so that i can put on the white sox and get my whisk and everything the ceremony
and i think that said know that everything thank you very much for coming and i hope you have a wonderful time at buddha's birthday i plan to myself
and i think we all deserve and need
a moment of unalloyed joy together so let's take that moment today thank you