May 15th, 2005


Happy Birthday Lord Buddha

"May I refrain from harm. May I try to help. I will always watch my mind. This is the teaching of the Buddha."

Hello Everyone,

Today is Buddha's birthday. I've never celebrated Buddha's birthday before. My friend Young told me a few days ago when she noticed that I was wearing my favorite Buddha earrings. When I heard that, I decided I would do something to honor Buddha. The main thing that came to mind would be to take some flowers and coins and lay them at the foot of a shrine -- maybe at a temple.

Scott has a Buddha that I gave him so I put some rose petals at his feet. I thought there was a Buddhist temple near his house, where I'm spending the night tonight, so we picked some flowers and drove over on our way to dinner. I was just going to go in and put the flowers down, send some love, and leave. Well, it turned out not to be a Buddhist temple but a Hindu temple instead. Scott said, "Buddha was a Hindu," so I thought, "Oh, why not", and decided that as awkward and weird as this might be that ultimately Buddha would get that we meant well, so why not leave our pretty roses there?

We felt a little shy and uncomfortable because really how were we going to explain that we just kind of wanted to honor Buddha symbolically by leaving flowers for him at a temple that probably won't even have an image of him? But what the heck, so we drove into the parking lot, looked at the odd, little, wooden-shingled, igloo-shaped building, walked around to the front and saw a sign that said, "Please leave your shoes here." Scott had his laced up tennis shoes and socks on but I was just wearing Birkenstocks so I took my sandals off and went inside, found a shrine to Lord and Lady elephant somebody (Ganesh?) and left our flowers there. I was too shy to go into the main temple area where there were some people sitting in the lotus position on the floor. I would have liked to because there were some really beautiful looking golden statues in there, but I didn't want to interrupt anything. And of course there's that deeply rooted Catholic school-girl part of me that tugs at the edges of my conscious mind and says, "Careful there Jacqui -- graven idols!" Oh well, at least we tried.

In Korea they celebrate this holiday by washing baby Buddhas, reciting prayers and poems, leaving flowers, coins, and gifts by statues of the Buddha in their temples, and then dedicating and lighting lanterns at night. I would love to do that, but hey, baby Buddhist steps right? Heh.

The first quote is for Scott because he understands this so much better than I do;

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." -- Buddha

"The purpose of our lives is to be happy." -- HH The Dalai Lama

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." -- HH The Dalai Lama

"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." -- HH The Dalai Lama

Tomorrow is Gumby's birthday, I wonder what we'll do for that ; )

I love this picture, but I didn't take it. I love pigeons so I don't see this as insulting, it just seems kind of sweet and funny to me.