Hanamatsuri (Birth of Sakyamuni) Service
It is a day of joy and a great significant for all Buddhists. We call the observance “Hana-matsuri” which means a “flower festival”.
Sakyamuni Buddha was born in India on April 8 about 3,000 years ago. At that time, the earth was said to have shaken in six directions (north, south, east, west, up, and down), flowers blossomed everywhere, Devas or gods filled the air with music. Heavenly being scattered flowers from sky. The newborn infant Buddha immediately stood up and then took seven steps to the north. Then he pointed his right hand to the heavens above and pointed his left hand to the earth below and, with the voice of a lion, spoke the following words; “In the heavens above and on earth below, I alone will become the Honored One.” With each step that he took, a lotus flower blossomed under his feet. This is why we call this celebration “Hana-matsuri” or a “flower festival”.
Many of the rites that are observed during Hanamatsuri are based on the events we are told happened at the time of Prince Siddhartha’s birth. The Hanamido or miniature floral altar of bright flowers provides the setting of the beautiful Lumbini Garden where he was born. The statue of the baby Buddha with its arm extended illustrates the virtues of Amida Buddha reaching out to all beings and the pouring of sweet tea on the statue represents the gentle rain that fell in Lumbini Garden and bathed the baby Buddha. May we all realize the meaning of his appearance in this world, so that we may humbly accept and understand his teaching as a way of our lives. Let us all gather to celebrate the birth of Sakyamuni Buddha, who guided by Wisdom vitalized by Compassion continue to aspire to develop the person, both ourselves and others, that we may all fulfill the ultimate meaning of life.
This celebration of the Buddha’s birth will bring together a diverse group of Buddhists from many rich traditions who share in the single purpose of celebrating the birth of Siddhartha Gautama who became enlightened as Sakyamuni Buddha.