Celebrating Buddha's Birthday

April 29, 2007

Author: Brooke Williams

Source: Union-Tribune/Buddhist Channel


Vista, CA (USA) -- People of all ages and backgrounds gathered at white picnic tables in the parking lot of the Vista Buddhist Temple yesterday to celebrate birthdays.

Not just the birthday of Buddha, but the birthdays that give each person a chance to bloom.

“You might say this weekend is a big birthday party,” said the Rev. Lee Rosenthal, a Buddhist priest who is resident minister at the temple. “We are all born in this world together.”

Gautama Siddhartha is said to have been born in a garden in India about 2,570 years ago, as sweet, spring rain fell and flowers bloomed. His followers later gave him the name Buddha, which means enlightened one. Today, Buddhism has about 376 million followers worldwide, according to Adherents.com, which collects demographic information on religions.

The annual celebration of Buddha's birth in April is called hanamatsuri, which means flower festival.