Hawaii Buddhist Council Also Plan Joint Gannenmono Memorial Service
Bishop Chishin Hirai
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
The Hawaii Buddhist Council invites you to join our Buddha Day celebration on Sunday, April 1, which we are combining with a Gannenmono Memorial Service to express our joy, gratitude and respect on this, the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Gannenmono in Hawai‘i.
Buddha Day celebrates the birth of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama —the founder of Buddhism. It is said that Siddhartha Gautama was born on April 8 about 2,500 years ago in a place called the Lumbini Garden in India. Upon his birth, beautiful flowers blossomed all around him.
During our celebration, a baby Buddha statue in a small shrine will be decorated with a floral display to symbolize where he was born. We will pour sweet tea over the statue in the flower shrine, as it is said that sweet nectar rained on Siddhartha during his birth.
As a young adult, Siddhartha devoted himself to overcoming the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death, finally attaining enlightenment and becoming the Buddha.
Buddhism shares the teaching of the Buddha in order to help one become a Buddha. The teachings help us to free ourselves from suffering and to attain awakening. We can become exactly like the Buddha.
Today, the teachings of the Buddha are preserved as sutras, or chants. The Buddha leads us through the sutras even now. Therefore, we celebrate Buddha’s birthday with great joy and express our deep gratitude on this auspicious occasion.
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Bishop Chishin Hirai is the 2018 president of the Hawaii Buddhist Council and head minister of the Nichiren Mission of Hawaii.