In this month of April, we observe our Hanamatsuri Service celebrating the birth of Sakyamuni Buddha. The many Buddhist traditions of the world celebrate the Buddha’s Birthday. The Theravada Buddhist observance of Vesak includes the celebration of Sakyamuni Buddha’s birthday and was recognized by the United Nations as an occasion for the world to honor the Buddha’s wisdom and seek the guidance of his teachings.
A multitude of Buddhist lineages span the world, each with special observances honoring the founders and great teachers of their tradition. All those diverse linages revere Sakyamuni Buddha as the great teacher who appeared in this world. In that sense, all those who journey through life on the path of the Buddha are our brothers, sisters, and siblings in the Dharma. In the following section from his Hymns on the Samadhi of All Buddhas’ Presence, Shandao describes the Buddha as the compassionate parent of all those who seek the path to awakening:
All my friends who aspire for birth in the Pure Land must carefully reflect upon their own lives. Sakyamuni Tathagata is truly our loving and compassionate parent. He uses various skillful means to guide us to awaken the unexcelled heart of entrusting. Moreover, there is not just one gate into his skillful teachings. This so that they may benefit unenlightened beings like us with our upside-down views. Those who live by the teachings may pass through any of the gates he taught to encounter the Buddha and attain birth in the Pure Land.Continue reading “Sakyamuni Tathagata is Truly Our Loving and Compassionate Parent”