The celebration of the Buddha's birth on Sunday, May 2nd began at 9 am at the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts. Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, laymen, laywomen, friends, and guests joined in ceremonies, which included repentance, praises to Shakyamuni Buddha, and bowing to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.


Bhikshu Dharmajyotih and Bhikshuni Henq Yin bathe the baby Buddha.

Immediately following the celebration, California Senator Milton Marks, accompanied by his wife, spoke to the great assembly, remarking on his enjoyment of the brief respite in a peaceful place his visit was affording him.

The High Meal Offering was made and a vegetarian meal under the sun followed. Supervisor Quentin Kopp spoke to the gathering about the manifestations of Buddhist psychological views in the day to day workings of city life. Senate Candidate Fred Furth spoke and then Carol Ruth Silver told everyone about Gold Mountain Instilling Virtue Elementary School, and how she had come to be instrumental in its founding.



Above: Circumambulating the Buddha at the Translation Institute.

The Elder Professor Sun Ya Fu, President of the Democratic Party in Taiwan, Republic of China, spoke from his long experience as a Buddhists and a leader of people.

After the feast, the highlight of the day, the ritual bathing of the newborn Buddha-image was performed. Everyone remained mindful of the opportunity to simultaneously cleanse his own self-nature of defilementís and coverings, as they chanted the esoteric syllables of the mantra.


Above: Senator Marks

Upper left: Quentin Kopp, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Following the initial ceremonies, he great assembly 
continued to bathe the Buddha in turn while Shramanera 
Heng Sure explained he significance of the day and 
described the original bathing of he new-born Buddha 
done by nine dragons. Children from the school then 
delighted everyone with a song bout Amitabha Buddha 
and put one and Buddhist scholars Professor Lewis 
Lancaster, Professor P.S. Jaini, and Dr. Ruth 
Inge-Heinze lent light to the historical significance 
of the day and read verses in Sanskrit and Pali.

A Jataka tale told by Bhikshuni Heng Hsien, a discussion of the ten good acts by Upasaka Kuo Chou Rounds, and an exploration of cause and effect by Bhikshuni Heng Yin provided the assembly with a taste of the Dharma.

The Venerable Master Hua then spoke with an eloquence 
and wisdom that moved the minds and hearts of disciples and visitors alike.

Evening ceremonies were held at Gold Mountain with two quiet hours of Ch'an meditation, the ritual bathing of the Buddha, Dharma talks and at the end of the day, the transference of merit to all living beings of the Dharmarealm.

Center: Attorney Carol Ruth Silver addresses visitors in the courtyard behind the Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts.

Lower right: Professor Ruth-Inqe
Heinze reads from the Dhammapada.