On Saturday many of us participated in the first online International Buddha Day celebration hosted by the Buddhist Centre Online. It was a fantastic program coming from around the world, with events from India, Australia, Mexico, the US, many countries in mainland Europe, and the UK.
At Adhisthana a huge amount of effort went into hosting a live Q&A with Saddhanandi and Saddhaloka – cables were run to the shrine room to enable internet, we had two practice runs, and at one point three cameras to make really, really sure it would work! Amazingly, the internet held out, and it was lovely to sit in the shrine room with the community and listen to the questions coming in.
In the week running up to Buddha Day the community performed rituals together in the evening. We heard readings from the time leading up to the Buddhas enlightenment, and chanted the Shakyamuni mantra many times.
One evening we sat out in the light of the setting sun under an oak tree, another we heard excerpts from the Lalitavistara Sutra. The sutra tells of Siddharatha Gautama’s vow to become a Buddha, of the terrible armies of Mara, and the Buddha’s victory over them. You can listen to these readings from Sanghadeva, Arthabandhu and Saddhanandi, as they movingly illustrate the struggle to overcome the conditioned, and celebrate the great achievement of the Buddha.
We hope wherever you are, you too managed to celebrate Buddha Day, in whatever way was possible. If you would like to hear more personal responses to the Buddha from the Q&A session, you can watch it here.