The Origins of The Buddha’s Birthday Festival

1. To celebrate the birth of the Buddha, his teachings and the values he exemplified
With the festivals, we see Buddhist practise in society rather than just in the temple, rather than only meditating. Grand Master Hsing Yun’s (the founder of Fo Guang Shan) inspiration of Humanistic Buddhism comes to life in this celebration of the Buddha’s birth.

2. As Buddhists:
(i) to continue Buddha’s compassionate vow of liberating beings from suffering
(ii) to perform rituals – to reduce calamities in the world

The presentation of the festivals gives an opportunity for choice. Choice, to look more deeply at our everyday life, to see the real possibility of liberation, the real possibility of a harmonious society. At a deeper karmic level, Abbess highlights to us a basic belief of Buddhism. The performance of rituals, such as chanting sutras, bathing the baby Buddha, alms rounds and making offerings purify the karmic stream. This purification exerts an influence at a subtle level to influence the stability of the world.

3. As members of society: to promote social harmony and family cohesiveness
Abbess reminds us here that we can take an active role in promoting social harmony and family cohesiveness

4. Food fund raising
The fund raising at the festivals allows contributions to be made to charity through the Loving Care organisation associated with temple.
The Buddha’s Birthday Festivals are held around April and May each year. Ask at your local Fo Guang Shan branch to locate a festival in your part of the world.  To find a local branch click on ‘worldwide branches’ at Fo Guang Shan Web.

* The Buddha’s Birthday Education Project (BBEP) brings our attention to the celebration of the Buddha’s birth over the centuries and creates engaging contemporary artefacts to extend the reach of the message of the Buddha’s birth. See more about what the BBEP volunteer teams are doing at this time.