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“Suppose a man wandering in a forest wilderness found an ancient path, an ancient trail, travelled by men of old, and he followed it up, and by doing so he discovered an ancient city, an ancient royal capital, where men of old had lived, with parks and groves and lakes, walled round and beautiful to see. So I too found the ancient path, the ancient trail, travelled by the Fully Enlightened Ones of old” (Nidanasamyutta, Samyutta Nikaya ii.105-6)
During Buddha day we celebrate the fact that Siddhartha Gautama became an Enlightened human being, an Awakened One - a Buddha. This festival is celebrated by many Buddhists around the world - and, of course, throughout the Triratna Buddhist Community! Take a look at some of the photos in our gallery of Buddha day festivities in Triratna.
Among the first to mark this occasion was the Melbourne Buddhist Centre, who held their celebrations on 4 May. After the usual Saturday morning meditation class there was a shared lunch followed by a talk from Manjusiddha on the early life of the Buddha to his Enlightenment and a slide show presentation of the pilgrimage sites in India from Apada. The puja was conducted by the Chair, Dantacitta, with musical accompaniment and two Mitra Ceremonies - the Shakyamuni and Padmasambhava mantras were particular highlights.
Meanwhile in Britain, the Norwich Buddhist Centre decamped to the countryside for Buddha day. Vajragupta, the chair of the Centre writes:
Our Buddha day saw around 50 men, women and children gathering on Saccaka’s land in the Norfolk countryside for a day celebrating the Buddha’s Enlightenment. Preparation began the week before to erect the marquee and build a wonderful log shrine upon which, in the context of a Buddha Day ritual people were invited to place a favourite rupa or Buddha image. A children’s tent appeared on the day, where parents and children ranging from three months to ten years could have some respite and share activities. Highlights of the day included a talk by Ratnaghosa on ‘The Three Rs’: Reverence, Receptivity and Responsiveness and in the afternoon a dramatisation of the Buddha’s Enlightenment by Jessica and a special Touching The Earth Puja compiled by Suryadarshini. Thanks to Bodhivajra for organising the day.
In Dublin a more contemplative day took place with meditation and reflection on the Buddha and the joy that renunciation can bring, inspired by Prajnagita’s talk, ‘The Buddha and his begging bowl - the courageous practice of simplicity and the joy of letting go.’ There was also an opportunity for good conversation and delicious food. A sevenfold puja brought an enjoyable day to a beautiful end.
“What the Buddha overcame, we too can overcome” was the theme of Buddha day at the Amsterdam Buddhist Centre. The day was led by Jayavajri and Tarodaya and it was a mixture of meditation, reflection, sharing experiences, input and a threefold puja.
Parina, who attended the Amsterdam Buddhist Centre’s celebrations, writes:
As a participant I enjoyed the atmosphere of celebrating the Buddha jewel: his remarkable attainment is very moving. We reflected on our own going forth and what is holding us back and it was moving to listen to each other’s open and honest reflections. One woman walked into our Centre for the first time and she was moved to tears by the Shakyamuni mantra. One other Sangha member shared her wish to care more for the earth by buying organic food. It was a rich, intimate, joyful celebration.
Sunday afternoon found the London Buddhist Centre attempting to celebrate the Buddha in a new way. Gus writes: “Over the course of an hour, we attempted to evoke the living presence of the Buddha with a cycle of meditation, atmospheric accordion music and stories told from the first-person perspective of some of those who met the Buddha (via some recognisable faces from the sangha!). Altogether with meditation, shared meals, Mitra ceremonies and a rousing talk from Jnanavaca, the LBC sangha was at its vibrant best, in tune with one another and alive to the ideal of the Buddha.”
In São Paulo, Brazil, Buddha day was celebrated on Wednesday night. Manjupriya writes:
Our little Sangha is almost 17 years old and last night we celebrated Wesak with a Seven-Fold puja with a reading of the story of the Buddha meeting Kisagotami. The shrine was very carefully built by the Wednesday night team and it focused on the Buddha Shakyamuni and Enlightenment in its five Jina forms. None of this would have been possible without the Buddha or Sangharakshita’s vision and dedication. Sabe Satta Sukhi Hontu!
Mitra ceremonies - an occasion to make a formal commitment to practice Buddhism in the context of the Triratna community - played an important role in many Buddha day celebrations in Triratna. From Berlin, Aryabandhu writes: ”a wonderful Buddha day at Buddhitsches Zentrum Berlin with Buddhanusati meditation, walking and chanting and a 7-fold puja with 3 Mitra ceremonies. About 50 people celebrated Buddha Day in Berlin……3 new mitras….Sadhu!…the Sangha grows.” Also at Nagaloka in Nagpur, India 45 people became mitras!
And in Valencia Buddha day celebrations commenced with an all-night meditation. Maitrighosha explains:
We started celebrating the Buddha’s commitment to awakening with a vigil through Saturday night, preceded by a light dinner at 21:00, and a lovely three fold puja and meditation at 22:00. There were 18 people at the beginning - through the night numbers decreased and there were 7 people by early morning finishing with a breakfast around 09:00.
On Sunday we began with a meditation, then Saddhakara gave a touching talk about seeing the Buddha’s Enlightenment through a child’s eyes, with awe-inspiring fascination… and finally we finished celebrating Buddha day with a traditional seven-fold puja taking the opportunity of incorporating mitra ceremonies in this context with a joyful atmosphere of rejoicing in merits, heart-felt offerings and mantra chanting. We were around 50 people there with a full shrine room. Many of us went later on to a restaurant to carry on the celebration in the traditional Spanish manner!