On May 8, Tzu Chi Foundation organized the events to celebrate the birthday of the Buddha, the Mother's Day and its 45th anniversary. Tzu Chi designates the second Sunday in May to mark these two important events, as well as Mother's Day, making it one of the most important days in the calendar.
The large event was held at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in downtown Taipei. It was attended by more than 30,000 people, including President Ma Ying-jeou, Prime Minister Wu Den-yih and other members of the government, Tsai Ying-wen, chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, the Taiwan representatives of 18 foreign countries and many other dignitaries. Some were there to express the thanks of their governments and people for the help which the foundation has extended to them over the years. They included the representatives of Japan and Haiti, which have both received assistance during the last 12 months. All the participants wanted to witness the power of love emanating from Taiwan and the help it has provided around the world and to pray for the safety of mankind. Among them was Steven C. Rockefeller Jr the fifth generation member of the Rockefeller family, who said that he found the ceremony more moving than the opening ceremony of Olympics.
The Taipei event began at 6.20 p.m. and was led by 270 Buddhist Dharma Masters. Since it was the foundation's 45th birthday, the volunteers walked in the shape of the number 45. They also formed the shape of the lotus and the symbol of the foundation. Everyone walked to the tables to bath the Buddha, received a flagrant flower and were blessed with good fortune. Their hearts were full of thanks -- thanks for the Buddha, thanks for their parents and thanks for mankind. They hoped that the act of washing the statue would cleanse their hearts of desire and troubles. They prayed for everyone to do charity and for the world to be saved from disasters.
The first ceremony of the day was held at 7 a.m. in Hualien, the headquarters of the foundation, where more than 3,000 people attended an hour-long ceremony in front of the Jing Si Hall. They included full-time staff of the foundation, students, volunteers, policemen, firemen and other members of the public. Presiding over the ceremony was Master Cheng Yen and Dharma Masters of Jing Si Abode. The participants formed the shape of the number 45 and the lotus flower.
It was 45 years ago that Master Cheng Yen declared as her objective: 'to serve Buddhism and to serve mankind'. Since then, she has been leading her disciples on this path, to cleanse the hearts of people and to purify the environment. She has declared 'repentance' as the theme of this 45th year. It is not only this year but every year and every day, and cultivate this sense of repentance. Only with this sense can a person avoid anxieties, not lose his temper and lead a tranquil life. Facing the natural disasters around the world, Master Cheng Yen has told her disciples that time is running out for mankind. The act of bathing the Buddha reminds everyone that every day they should cultivate themselves spiritually and give thanks to the Buddha, to their parents and to humanity.
After the end of the ceremony in Hualien, the foundation held similar events in 240 places in 30 countries and regions, to spread the force of good across the whole world.
There are estimated nearly 220,000 people in 30 countries across the globe will participate Buddha Day Ceremony organized by the foundation to celebrate the birthday of the Buddha and its 45th anniversary.
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