Rissho Kosei-kai Members Celebrate Shakyamuni's Birthday
On April 8, Rissho Kosei-kai celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha at the Great Sacred Hall in the headquarters complex in Tokyo and at all Dharma Centers throughout Japan.
At the gathering of some 3,700 members in the Great Sacred Hall, sixteen young women members in colorful saris carried offerings to the altar before the image of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, and President-designate Kosho Niwano led the sutra chanting. She then read out a pledge of dedication to the Buddha composed by President Nichiko Niwano and poured sweet hydrangea tea over an image of the infant Buddha set in a small pagoda decorated with flowers on the hall's platform.
Then one member testified to the faith, and President Niwano also poured sweet tea over the image of the infant Buddha and gave a Dharma talk.
Referring to the Buddha's proclamation immediately after birth, "I alone am honored, in heaven and on earth," he explained that this means that the life of every individual is precious and that differences in character enrich the world's diversity. Thus he emphasized the importance of mutual respect.
He also emphasized that it is of the utmost importance for Buddhists to see things as they really are and to be grateful for everything.
Finally he encouraged every member to see the Buddha's birthday as a good opportunity to become more diligent in practicing the Buddha's teachings, to find happiness in liberation while sharing the teachings with others to relieve them of suffering.
After President Niwano's Dharma talk, 116 young members in traditional costumes walked in procession from the Great Sacred Hall to the Precious Stupa of the One Vehicle, dedicated to Rissho Kosei-kai's founder, Rev. Nikkyo Niwano, and poured sweet hydrangea tea over an image of the infant Buddha set in a small pagoda before the stupa.
On the same day, Rissho Kosei-kai members of Dharma Centers across Japan placed images of the infant Buddha in small pagodas in shopping centers and parks, inviting passers-by to pour sweet hydrangea tea over the images in veneration.
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