On Sunday, May 19, 1995, the Festival for Bathing the Buddha was held at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to celebrate the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha. Around 1,000 Buddhists from the United States, Canada, and Asia came to join the magnificent Dharma gathering.
It had been raining continuously for many days prior to the Bathing the Buddha festival. The weatherman forecasted that the rain would continue until May 21. Unexpectedly, though, the dark clouds were nowhere to be seen on the morning of the Buddha's birthday. We saw the sun rise over Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain, its bright shafts of light bringing a harmonious and proper energy to the world. As the the sounds of the true words for bathing the Buddha--"Nan, di sha, di sha, samgha suo he"--reverberated through the air, nearly a thousand people formed into twelve lines carried out the ritual of bathing the Buddha in orderly fashion. Their faces glowed with joy and sincerity.
Dharma Master Heng Sure gave a talk at the vegetarian noon meal. He recited a verse that the Master had composed for the Bathing the Buddha Festival in 1989:
Bathing the Buddha and bathing our minds, we return to purity.
Taking food and taking medicine, we get rid of illness.
There is not a single speck of dust on the true self.
Walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, you are always in samadhi.
Dharma Master Sure said that after bathing the Buddha, everyone should return to purity and constantly remain in samadhi.
The 108-year-old Dharma Master Dharmawara, who is presently residing at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, gave a talk in which he said, "Today is the greatest day of all days. Why is it so great? Because it was today that Shakyamuni Buddha was born, the day that brought Buddha to the world. May Buddha bless all of you with happiness, success, prosperity, and longevity."
Dharma Master Heng Liang explained the Praise for Bathing the Buddha, which goes:
I now bathe all Thus Come Ones,
Who are adorned with pure wisdom,
Who have amassed merit and virtue.
May living beings of the five turbid realms be led from filth,
And together realize the pure Dharma body of the Thus Come One.
She said, "To bathe the Buddha we are bathing our self-nature! Once we're purifying our self-nature is pure, we don't want to pollute it again with greed, hatred, or stupidity. We don't want to pollute our body with the flesh of living beings either."
Dharma Master Heng Lyu, the City's Abbot, expressed his gratitude to the kitchen workers for their hard work. After the meal, there was a Vietnamese lecture. The videotape "Crying Life," which stresses the cruelty of taking life, was played and translated on the spot from English into Mandarin and Cantonese. After a ceremony for Liberating Lives and a transmission of the three refuges and five precepts in the afternoon.