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2024 BWZ Wesak Festival

Last weekend, the Sangha celebrated Wesak which commemorates the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha. 

To begin the ceremony, we set up a special altar and place a small baby Buddha statue on it. The statue depicts a baby Buddha standing on a lotus. One of his hands points to the sky while the other hand points toward the earth. We put the statue in a bowl and fill the bowl with sweet tea, then we ladle the tea over the Buddha statue. Next, we created a bower, which is a structure that we decorate with all kinds of flowers until the underlying structure is no longer visible—it becomes just one big canopy of flowers. During the procession, when you approach the Baby Buddha altar, you make a bow. Then, you take a ladle full of the sweet tea and pour it over the top of the Buddha’s head to mimic the rain of sweet tea from the myth that flowed down from the sky upon his birth. 

Ceremonies exist to help us access our emotions. In our Wesak ceremony, we reenact the mythological scene of the baby Buddha, who, immediately upon birth, stands up, takes seven steps, and then makes a proclamation about how this is his last birth. He states that he is a Buddha and will attain enlightenment. The phrase for this that we tend to use in our lineage is, “I alone am the world-honored one.” Then, we say that sweet tea rained from the sky, and there were many flowers. Learn more about Wesak by listening to or reading Domyo’s podcast.

Click to enlarge the photos: