何以隆重？新舊信眾，遠道而來，以是隆重。鄰近的紅木谷南傳道場無畏寺（Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery）的伯沙諾比丘為首的僧團、柏克萊世界宗教研究院的恆實師、恆緣師、長堤聖寺的小沙彌們、曼都仙諾郡的政府官員們亦專程而來。
Nine dragons spouted water on the baby Buddha when he was born. Later it became a custom for people to bathe the Buddha’s image on his birthday. As the Venerable Master Hua said, the Buddha is basically clean and doesn’t need people to bathe him. We bathe the Buddha “for the sake of our future Buddhahood,” planting far-reaching good roots for realizing Buddhahood. As disciples of the Buddha, we bathe his image to show our filial respect.
The Buddha’s birthday is a big event in Buddhism. The celebration is always adorned and grand. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is no exception in this matter.
How was it adorned? First of all, it took place during the transition from spring to summer, with mild temperature, blue skies, and white clouds. Secondly, the whole atmosphere was refreshed and adorned: Throughout the City the fourfold assembly worked together to mow the lawns and wash the floors. The dining hall and the mountain gate were sparkling clean; the big Buddha and the huge censer were draped with flower garlands. Incense rose continuously from the censer on the altar. Everything was neat and tidy. The roads were clean with clearly drawn white lines. Finally, the monastics and laity were each dressed in their proper, distinctly colored robes.
How was it grand? People, including old and new disciples, came from all quarters to celebrate. Those who made a special trip to come here included: monks led by Ajahn Passano from Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in the nearby Redwood Valley, Dharma Masters Heng Sure and Heng Yuen from the Institute for World Religions in Berkeley, the young novice monks from Long Beach Sagely Monastery, and officials of Mendocino County.
When the ceremony for bathing the Buddha ended at 10 a.m., the assembly filed into the Five Contemplations Dining Hall for a sumptuous vegetarian lunch. During the meal, the young novices performed Shaolin-style martial arts and several Dharma Masters gave instructional talks, providing the assembly with ‘Dharma food.’
Ajahn Passano said that while the Buddha’s birthday is also celebrated in the Theravadan tradition, it is much more austere, very different from the grand celebration at the City. After lunch, there was a transmission of the Three Refuges and Five Precepts, and a Liberation of Life ceremony. Two goats were among the animals liberated. The celebration concluded at four o'clock.