Feast on peace and harmony

The bathing of the Buddha is a main attraction at the annual Buddha’s Birthday and Multicultural Festival in Maylands.
The bathing of the Buddha is a main attraction at the annual Buddha’s Birthday and Multicultural Festival in Maylands.

The festival has been celebrated in WA since the opening of the temple in 1998 and commemorates the birth of the founder of Buddhism, Sakyamuni Buddha, more than 2500 years ago.

Since its inception the two-day event has increased in popularity, bringing together the state’s multicultural and multi-faith communities for a celebration of Buddha and different cultures.

Grace Collins from the Buddha’s Birthday Festival committee said the festival’s objective was to promote peace and harmony among people from diverse backgrounds.

In its 15th year, the family-friendly festival would include a bathing of the Buddha ritual, baby blessing ceremony, multi-faith prayer for peace and offering ceremony, meditation, tea appreciation, Chinese calligraphy, pictorial exhibition of Buddha’s life, entertainment and multicultural food stalls.

Ms Collins said one of the festival highlights was the bathing of Buddha ritual where fragrant water was used to bathe the image of the infant Buddha.

‘There is great significance in the act as the fragrant water is poured over the statue of the infant Buddha three times,’ she said.

‘It symbolises the cleansing of our body, speech and thoughts to eradicate anger, greed and ignorance in order to purify our minds to cultivate merits and wisdom.

‘This ritual performed with reverence and a purified mind is said to improve harmony and inner balance, leading to a flourishing, fulfilling, wholesome, blissful and enlightened life.

‘The universal message is that ‘it’s easy to wash away physical dirt, but much more difficult to cleanse one’s inner impurity of greed, anger and ignorance’.’

As part of festival celebrations, Ms Collins said the Buddha Light International Association’s charity arm Love and Care Group would be making two $3000 donations to the Heart Foundation and Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence.

For more information and a timetable of activities go to www.bliawa.org/3/miscellaneous3.htm.