On April 8, 2539 years ago, Queen Maya of Kapilavastu, India, gave birth to Prince Siddhartha under the asoka tree in Lumbini Park. He was to become the Buddha. After his birth, with one hand pointing to the heavens and the other to the earth, the prince exclaimed, “I am the supreme of all heaven and earth.” The meaning of which is, “In all of the universe, only realizing our own Buddha nature is the most noble and supreme.” Subsequently, the Four Heavenly Kings and nine dragons rained down fragrant water to bathe the young prince.
Hence, Buddhists conduct “Bathing the Buddha Ceremony” and prepare a tonic with fragrant herbs and spices to bathe Buddha statues for celebration of the Buddha’s birthday.
The meaning of bathing the Buddha:
When we bathe the Buddha statue, we should sincerely pray for purification of our own defilements of greed, hatred, and anger. We should pray for peace and harmony everywhere, so that there is no more violence, deceit, and evil in the world. We should wish for our troubled world be transformed into a pure land and all minds be guided onto the bodhi path. This is the true meaning of bathing the Buddha.
The benefits of bathing the Buddha:
In the Benefits of Bathing the Buddha Sutra, they are as follows:
1.Wealth and happiness, good health and longevity
2.All wishes fulfilled
3.Peace and harmony for family, relatives, and friends
4.Never to face the Eight Obstacles of learning the Dharma, nor suffering
5.Achieve quick enlightenment
What kind of mind should we have when bathing the Buddha?
- we should be joyful and have faith in the merit of bathing the Buddha. In pouring water over the Buddha, we are also cleansing our own minds.
- When we bathe the statue of the Buddha, we take it as the Buddha is present and we have cultivated the premiere merit in the world. We should transfer this merit to all sentient beings for enhancing wisdom, and making affinity with the holy.
- We wish to be rid of karmic obstructions and for purification of our minds. We pray for peace and happiness for all humanity. (Source: IBPS Vancouver)