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3 Nov 2002

Hanamatsuri, literally flower festival, is celebrated on April 8, commemorating the birth of Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha became enlightened as Sakyamuni Buddha and this marks the release of sentient beings from suffering and sorrow.

According to our tradition, the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni, was born in Nepal on April 8, 566 B.C. He was born the son of King Suddohana and Queen Maya. There are many flowery descriptions of the scene at his birth, including celestial birds singing beautiful songs, beautiful flowers, and a sweet gentle rain bathing the baby Buddha. It is not necessarily the beauty of the flowers, the sounds of the celestial birds, nor the sweet gentle rain that fell, but the vibrant fact that on this day was born the greatest of sentient be- ings who became the Enlightened One, the Buddha.

Every year we celebrate our own birthday. In our youth, we are anxious to reach adulthood? and in our old age, we attempt to cling to our youth? What is the meaning and reason for celebrating our birth? Much of the meaning of our own birth is often lost in the gifts and the merriment. The celebration of our birth is an expression of gratitude. This gratitude is extended towards our friends, parents and to life itself. This gratitude grows from an understanding that our birth is the result of many people and that our lives are intertwined with all others.

Understanding the Buddha's teaching of the interdependence of all things will make it clear that our birth is the result of many causes and conditions. Realizing this we can see that our birth is truly a rare and wonderful gift, and we have an obligation to live out this life in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha. This obligation to live our lives out to the fullest becomes even more striking when we look at the symbolism and the significance of the flower. The flower, as with all human be- ings, has its moment of youth and beauty, but its beauty soon begins to fade and eventually it dies. Our birth is like the blossoming of a beautiful flower, but it is the seed of our own demise. When we can understand our own im- permanent nature, then it becomes very clear how we should live our lives.

From the murky depths of this quagmire of life, there still are occasions when sentient beings may, out of the sincerity of mind, effort and intelligence, produce pure thoughts which may bloom into the ultimate purity of the white lotus, enlightenment. Hanamatsuri represents one of these occasions. It is a time for us to show our gratitude and rededicate ourselves as we contemplate the importance of the birth of our teacher, master, spiritual guide and friend, Sakyamuni Buddha.

Namo Amidabutsu
Rev. Dennis Shinseki
Seattle Betsuin
Great pic, great festival, great symbolism and ideological background. 'nuff said. :cool:
@ kakuzen🙂 🙂 beautiful pieces!! Easily understood by us non-parishioners, keep up this great work of knowledge! Because after all, knowledge is a great and powerful medium between cultures,🙂
Buddhist Holidays

Hi Deb... great to see you again. Buddhist holidays observed by Japanese Buddhist traditions are as follows.

April 8th - Hanamatsuri (Buddha's Birth)
December 8th - Bodhi Day (Buddha's Enlightenment)
February 8th - Parinirvana Day (Buddha's Passing)

May 15th, 2003 - Wesak Day
(Birth, Enlightenment & Passing of the Buddha)
Could you point me to more information about Zen Buddhism?

I meditate and feel amazing and focused afterwards. Besides,
Catholic religions have never made that much sense to me. I
understand the theory and beliefs behind them, I just don't
get with them, ya know?

Any information about Zen Buddhism or Shinto would be greatly

Here is a link about Zen Buddhism that Kakuzen previously provided in another thread: http://www.intrex.net/chzg/talklist.htm


Also, if you are interested in learning more about Zen Buddhism or Buddhism in general, you might want to check out this new Buddhist Forum at http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/ It's a serious board, but it's also very informative, with a great group of people over there. There are several monks and lamas who frequent that site as well, so you will be sure to find answers to any questions you might have a few of us over the also post at this site, so you may see some familiar "faces," so to speak. In any event, good luck with your studies!

You're very welcome, Samuraitora! :) Believe it or not, I understood the "thank you" in Japanese (one of the few phrases I know), but I'm afraid I don't yet know how to say "you're welcome" in Japanese, so English will have to suffice for now. Do you know how to say "you're welcome" in Japanese? 😄

I'll say it's a mouth full!! But thanks! I really appreciate that ... I've just learned another new word in Japanese, which is cool! 😄
that is the polite version...to a kid or parent or something like that you would just say "oyasumi". that is still a mouthfull for just saying "night"

Oh! I just heard a new favorite...yokudekimashita
it means "great job!"
You know, I guess it's not so bad when you consider the fact that it's only one word for our two! :)
Yeah, one word for 2 that is almost 1.5 times as long...lol
I am going to start a new thread in the nihongo forum/japanese lounge asking what everyones favorite word is...

that link is great! thank you.
Bump !!

The member Hoyu hasn't been on for a year, but if you look back at his posts, there is a terrific ammount of info and many good links about Buddhism.

Uncle Frank

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