Japanese Buddhists to Mark Founder’s Birthday Tomorrow

April 7, 2007

Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin


Some island Buddhists will celebrate the birth of the religion's founder tomorrow in a Buddha Day celebration at Kapiolani Park.

After a 9 a.m. service at the Kapiolani Bandstand, the Hanamatsuri festival will continue with a bon dance, a puppet show of the birth of Buddha by Pacific Buddhist Academy students and bouncing castles for children. Snacks will be sold at food booths. The event is open to the public.

Hawaii's Japanese Buddhist temples traditionally celebrate the birth of the Shakyamuni Buddha, the Indian prince who founded the Buddhist philosophy, in April at the time of the Japanese spring flower festival, Hanamatsuri. Other branches of Buddhism from China and Southeast Asia celebrate the tradition in May.

Ministers from several Japanese denominations will participate in rituals symbolic of the historical Buddha's birth more than 2,500 years ago. They will pour sweet tea over a statue of the baby Buddha, symbolizing the gentle rain that fell at his birth in Lumbini Garden in Nepal near the Indian border. An altar of flowers will recall the lush site of his birth.