08 May 2011

Buddha's Birthday and Bathing Ceremony

Today marks Buddha's birthday. At Buddha Mind, a local monastery where Mahina attends, they celebrated this holy day by having their annual Bathing Ceremony and Bizarre with games, food, and music. The ceremony is beautiful with the liturgy mostly chanted in Chinese. The beautiful surroundings and monastery, along with the sacred chants, offers a glance into the world of Buddhism that is very much alive in Oklahoma. Before the ceremony they had ten people make profession with repentance, refuges, and vows. It was an honor to witness this sacred ritual.

Mahina stated that all she wanted for Mother's Day was for us to attend with her. Mariah and I did with pleasure. Although the ceremony itself is long, one doesn't really notice it until it starts winding down. Since I don't speak Chinese (and can't fake it well, either), I just close my eyes and listen to the chanting and get carried away.

Also, I dress in my collar and monastic robes for the sacred ceremony. My reasoning is primarily to encourage ecumenicalism between faith traditions. I want to show them respect and honor by recognizing their path of peace and non-violence as a reflection of a shared belief. There is a lot of similarities with the paths of Christianity and Buddhism.

One particular similarity is that of renouncing your 'old way of being' and seeking the true spiritual path. The talk today focused on this path stating that Buddha doesn't bestow sacred wisdom to the followers. Instead, Buddha shows a path. It is up to the follower to discover how that path works for herself.

This is similar to the Christian notion that we have 'gone astray' and sought our own way of being. Jesus arrives to show us the true path, the true way, the true life. We have to change our hearts and minds and determine to follow the Way of Christ.

Another similarity is the acknowledgment of the Buddha in each one of us. Christians do this as well by acknowledging Christ within our neighbors as well as enemies. My prayer is that we all continue to search for Christ within those around us, whatever their faith tradition or no faith tradition. We are all God's children. Sometimes we just need to slow down and look. I think we will be amazed at what we find.


~~~
In the Love of the Three in One,

Jack+, LC

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