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Buddha's Birthday

posted Jun 4, 2010, 12:17 PM by Quoc-Anh Vuong   [ updated Jun 4, 2010, 1:12 PM ]

It was Buddha's Birthday last week and we were at the temple to commemorate the first week of my father in-law passed away. The temple was packed, the heat and humidity were also giving their best to compete with the festivity.

After the praying in the small altar, we headed into the main service area. People were sitting and kneeling on the carpet covered marble floor awaiting to the praying service at 11:30am. Half hour away and the room already 80% full. As we settled down on the carpet, an old lady told us to move to the front, because we have love one just passed away. However when we went up to the front, no one would want to yield the space for us. We went back to the back, and once again asked by the elder to take our seats up front. It took couple times, and finally an escorting abbot for us to secure a place in front, among others also have white head bands - denoting love one just passed away. Just before the Buddha's Birthday ceremony started, Huân showed edgy and did not want to sit inside, so I took him outside to find something to ease his mind. As we passed the table selling egg-rolls and other finger foods, Huân stopped and so we had our first vegetarian snack, $5 for 5 egg-rolls, it's a good deal.

After the snack we visited the opposite table, which has two big cold drink dispensers. I asked for how much, and was told that the drinks are free, because today is Buddha's Birthday, and the temple will not collect any money from foods & drinks. But I told the volunteer that I just paid for the egg-rolls, what's with that? The guy told me that the table belong to other group, and they sell the raise fund. Oh well, I should have known. We each had at least 4 cups of ice cold lemonades, it's free! At another nearby section, there were rows and rows of rice noodles, bean sprout, and herbs inside foam bowl. There must be hundreds of bowls, awaiting for the temple goers. Behind the tables are three huge salivating simmering pots. These will be served at lunch, after the main service; and sure enough the people pouring out right after the service. With big smiles when they receive the foods.

As I look around, people are happily socializing, the Venerable is conversing with a visitor with a big smile, all of my kids are happy, Hương is laughing, and I thought "This must be the most happy day on earth, the Buddha's Birthday".

Buddha's Birthday