Buddha’s Birthday celebration in Sai Kung on 3 May 2017

by Mei Yuen

A very happy Buddha’s Birthday was celebrated in Sai Kung on Wednesday morning.  Fat Kwong Temple of Tai Chung Hau, Sai Kung organised a ‘Bathing of the Buddha’ ceremony in Sai Kung Town Hall from 10:00 – 12:00.

With assistance from the Office of Sai Kung District Council Chairman, Mr. George Ng Sze-fuk, the smoothly run ceremony, began with prayers by religious leaders, then  each participant followed by ‘washing’ a small statue of Buddha, placed within a basin on an altar, with a scoop of water 3 times.

Participants were then presented on their way out with a ‘Lotus Light’ and a ‘Blessings Pouch’ each containing rice, peanuts, sweets and a face towel.  Close to 500 people were present at the start of the ceremony, with many more arriving as the ceremony progressed.

Washing the Baby Buddha¹

One ritual found throughout Asia and in most schools of Buddhism is that of washing the baby Buddha. According to Buddhist legend, when the Buddha was born, he stood straight, took seven steps, and declared “I alone am the World-Honoured One.” And he pointed up with one hand and down with the other, to indicate he would unite heaven and earth.

The seven steps the Buddha took are thought to represent seven directions–north, south, east, west, up, down, and here. Mahayana Buddhists interpret “I alone am the World-Honoured One” to mean ‘I represent all sentient beings throughout space and time’– everyone, in other words.

The ritual of “washing the baby Buddha” commemorates this moment. A small standing figure of the baby Buddha, with the right hand pointing up and the left hand pointing down, is placed on an elevated stand within a basin on an altar. People approach the altar reverently, fill a ladle with water or tea, and pour it over the figure to “wash” the baby

¹Buddha’s Birthday https://www.thoughtco.com/buddhas-birthday-449906#step-heading

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