The 4th Annual Buddha’s Birthday Education Project began its first exhibition of the year at Whittier Narrows Park on May 17 during the Southern California Buddha’s Birthday Joint Celebration and has now continued to the Harmony Hall of Hsi Lai Temple for two more exciting weekends (5/24-25 & 5/30-31.) As a multimedia art exhibition, it has attracted nearly 10,000 visitors each year since its inception in 2012, with a range of educational activities celebrating the birth of the Buddha.
Inspired by records from medieval China, Dave and Nancy Cowardin created a Scroll of the Silk Routes, Map and Journal of Faxian’s Journey, Triptych Mural, drawings and paintings by hand and even a detailed replica of a Buddha Carriage, a model in one third scale depicting the way people celebrated the Buddha’s birthday in the city of Luoyang during the Northern Wei dynasty around the 6th Century. Superintendent of FGS Overseas Affairs, Ven. Man Chien, presided over the opening ceremony at the temple on May 24, leading monastics and volunteers in procession the around the courtyard to parade the Buddha Carriage as attendees chanted the Buddha’s name.
Entitled “Through These Doors: Connecting Past and Present, East and West,” this project hopes to educate and promote understanding of Buddhism, the historical spread of the tradition from India to China, as well as the extraordinary celebrations of the Buddha’s birthday conducted over the centuries through the interpretation of docents and various resources. Through art, music and multimedia the Buddha’s Birthday Education Project (BBEP) documents the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road to many parts of Asia and, subsequently, into the West. BBEP presents reliable and engaging information about the Buddha’s Birthday (also traditionally known as Vesak) that aims to connect east and west, past and present.