Nan Tien Temple will celebrate Buddha’s birthday tomorrow, with fair and traditional ceremonies to commemorate the event.

The event coincides with Easter celebrations in the Christian calendar. Buddha was born on April 8th, 623 BCE, but festivities celebrating his birth, death and reincarnation are celebrated throughout April and June. Festivities at the temple will include stalls and special commemorative events to commemorate.

Venerable Reverend Miao You is organising the event, and tells us of what you can expect during the celebrations.

“We have the bathing of the Buddha. We are reminded of the compassion of the Buddha, to leave his teachings to the world,” event coordinator Venerable Reverend Miao You said.

“The bathing of the Buddha is a cleansing ritual. It cleanses us of our greed, anger and ignorance. It reminds us not to violate others, we should always live in peace and harmony and should support one another in our growth and development.”

She encouraged everyone to attend the event, even if they are not Buddhist.

“We welcome everyone here, every day of the week, except for Mondays,” which she elaborated as the time for maintaining the temple,” she said.

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Many of the side-events and stalls organised also have a Buddhist theme, with a “children’s birthday party at 12:30 starting tomorrow for the next two to three days, and we have a vegetarian food fair, we have arts and crafts workshop, and we have the garden. That’s where Buddha was born, in a garden in ancient India, but is now part of Nepal.

“Everyone is allowed to take part in those activities, you don’t have to be Buddhist to take part in them. It’s not like if you take part in the ritual you become Buddhist or something, because as you know, Christians need to become baptised. In Buddhism we have the triple gem, which is Buddha, the Dharma, and Sangha, which is us. We look after each other and guide you in your journey.”

UOW students, Dulanjalee and Minshin, come from Sri Lanka, a Buddhist island.

“The festival’s called Vesak. We celebrate the birth, the enlightenment and death of the Buddha on the same day. It’s a great celebration,” Minshin said.

“I’m not a religious person, but I celebrate it,” Dulanjalee added. However she admitted, “I celebrate it at the temple. I haven’t gone to the Wollongong one, because I’m pretty new here to Australia.

“If you go around the towns, people give free food. To all of us. The temples are all decorated with lanterns. It was enjoyable. I just mainly go for the free food,” said Minshin.

Nan Tien Temple will celebrate Buddha’s birthday on April 3rd through to April 6th.

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