Dear Feng Shui Fans!
Today is Buddha’s Birthday – Happy Birthday Buddha!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!
Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. His birthday is a celebration of life and unconditional happiness. Buddha’s life focused on ensuring that the mind is free from any disturbing emotions except for being fearless, joyful and being compassionate. Buddha taught methods for gradually overcoming our negative minds such as anger, jealousy and ignorance, and developing our positive minds such as love, compassion and wisdom.
To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or ‘way of life’. It is a philosophy because philosophy ‘means love of wisdom’. The Buddhist path incorporates three fundamental actions. They are: (1) to lead a moral life, (2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and (3) to develop wisdom and understanding. My personal upbringing was surrounded by the understanding and belief in Buddhism. As I grew older, Buddhism helped explain to me the purpose of life, injustice and inequality around my environment, and provided me a way of life that leads to true happiness.
Coming from a traditional Vietnamese buddhist family, in Vietnam, this holiday is called Lễ Phật Đản and is marked with parades and lanterns in the streets. Pagodas and temples are decorated to invite followers to make offerings to monks and hear their sermons and chanting. In honor of Buddha’s birthday, here are two traditions which I practice and is also seen around the world:
1. Visit Temples – Visiting temples provides the opportunity to pray, make a blessing and light incense to Buddha. You can enjoy meeting the community, sampling of vegetarian food and tea offered by the monks.
2. Lighting Lotus Lanterns – Lotus lanterns can be hung outside of the home, with a tea light inside to make it glow. In some cities around the world, this celebration is hosted by Lantern Festivals.
There are many different types of Buddha’s. The two most popular Buddha’s are the Laughing Buddha and the Protection Buddha. The Laughing Buddha features the buddha being jovial and happy, symbolic of prosperity and abundance. He can either be seen sitting down and laughing or standing with his hands over his head. Some even feature him with children at his feet. Affectionately dubbed as Happy, it is customary to rub his belly for good luck. The Protection Buddha can be seen either sitting or standing, eyes closed. The significant feature of this Buddha is his raised right hand, which is supposed to act as a shield, protecting people from fear, anger, and evil. The left hand is generally seen either extended in front or placed on the lap, palms upward.
For me, it’s important to dedicate a small area of my home to meditate & pray. This area will include Buddhist figurines, candles, fresh flowers, incense, and a gong, which serves as a personal place for me and my family to focus and rejuvenate our mind and thoughts. Throughout my house, I leverage the Bagua map to decide where I would like to place the Protection and Laughing Buddha and align their spiritual blessing to the affirmations I make for myself and my family.
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Till next time!