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Buddha Day Ceremony - Prayer and Gratitude

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At 7 a.m. on May 10, the first session of the 2015 Tzu Chi Buddha Day Ceremony commenced at the Jing Si Hall in Hualien. Tzu Chi branches in 37 countries across five continents followed with 358 sessions. An estimated 240,000 people participated in this meaningful occasion to express our most sincere gratitude towards the Buddha, our parents and all sentient beings. The Tzu Chi Relief Team in Nepal also held a Buddha Birth Prayer Ceremony on May 10, in combination with a ceremony for its relief distribution.

Celebrating the Three-in-One Auspicious Occasion

In the face of the drought situation in Taiwan, as well as the frequent and serious disasters around the globe, "Prayer and Gratitude" was chosen as the theme of this year's ceremony. The very first session of the Buddha Day Ceremonies around the globe started at the Jing Si Hall in Hualien. 94 venerable masters from the Jing Si Abode led 3,000 participants in this auspicious three-in-one ceremony that commemorates the Buddha Day, Mother's Day and Tzu Chi Day. Through harmonious singing and co-ordinated action, we express our deepest respect to all Buddhas, voice our most sincere gratitude to all parents, as well as pray for all sentient beings.

Two Nepali exchange students, Jayaprakash Mandal and Rakesh Roy from India SRM University, who are studying in the Department of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics in Tzu Chi University, attended the ceremony to pray for the disaster victims back in their hometown. They hope that, through the pious act of bathing the Buddha, their blessings could be sent back to their countrymen thousands of miles away.

Lungelo Thabethe and Ayanda from South Africa, who study in the Tzu Chi University Centre for Language Studies, specially expressed in Mandarin their gratitude towards their parents. Teachers and students from the Hualien Sun Dance High School also attended the ceremony in special costumes that expressed their youthfulness and aspirations to make this world a better place. A venerable Master from Korea also graced this occasion to pray for the world to be freed from disasters.

The Fragrance of Virtue, Spirit and Dharma of The Buddha

Due to the drought in Taiwan, the ceremony replaced water trays with water fog sprinklers that use less water. The ceremony was attended by the staff of the Tzu Chi Foundation, doctors, nurses and pharmacists from Tzu Chi Hospitals, as well as teachers and students from Tzu Chi College of Technology, Tzu Chi University and its affiliated High School and Primary School.

During the ceremony, the devotees bowed before the Buddha's feet while their hands touched the fragrant water. When they brought their palms back together, the fragrance that represents the virtue, spirit and dharma of the Buddha filled their hearts.

Master Cheng Yan said that the month of May is indeed the month of gratitude and filial piety. Everyone hopes that, during this auspicious month, Tzu Chi volunteers around the globe will hold activities in their own neighborhood that will cleanse peoples' heart of ignorance and show the beauty of the Buddhist ceremony. On this day of Buddha Day, Mother's Day and Global Tzu Chi Day, we gathered the benevolent thoughts of all and expressed our gratitude towards the Buddha, our parents and all sentient beings.

Through Day Buddha Birth Prayer Ceremonies across the globe, we hope that wisdom can be cultivated and Dharma can be spread. People come together in sincere prayers where good thoughts will resonate.

(Reports by Tzu Chi Foundation Secretariat, Hualien 2015/05/10)