codyne: blue lotus (blue lotus)
[personal profile] codyne posting in [community profile] buddhists
Today was the Buddha's Birthday celebration at Mountain Spirit Center, or Taegosah, a Korean Buddhist temple in the mountains of Tehachapi, California.

Buddha's Birthday banner at Mountain Spirit Center

The event began at 11 am, with everyone gathering in the Buddha hall for weekly practice. So many people came that there was no room in the hall for everyone, even with mats covering every available bit of floor space. The front of the hall was open, so that people could look in from outside and fresh spring breezes filled the hall.

After the usual chanting, bowing, and Dharma talk, we all followed the monk on a circuitous walk around the grounds, chanting "Sokka moni bul" (Shakyamuni Buddha) as we walked. Then he led us back up the steps to the front of the Buddha Hall, where we all joined in washing the Buddha.

Standing on the steps waiting my turn to wash the Buddha, I took this photo of the Peace Bell pagoda and the Main Hall, all festively decorated with paper lanterns.
Peace Bell pagoda and main hall

Here's another photo of the Main Hall. It contains the kitchen, office, and Kwan Um Hall on the upper floor, and the living quarters on the lower floor. Most Sundays, we eat lunch after practice in the Kwan Um Hall.
Main hall

A close-up of one of the lanterns hanging outside.

Still making my way up the steps to the Buddha Hall...
Steps leading up to the Buddha Hall

This small stone statue of Kwan Seum Bosal (Quan Yin in Chinese, or Kannon in Japanese, she is the Boddhisattva of compassion) is in front of the Buddha Hall.
Kwan Seum Bosal statue

At the top of the steps, there's a small statue of the baby Buddha, surrounded by flowers, with a basin of water next to it, and an offering plate in front. Celebrants are given a dipper to dip some water from the basin and pour it over the Buddha statue, to symbolize washing the newborn baby. I included this picture because I like the blue-faced guy you can also see painted on the side of the hall.
Baby Buddha statue

Here's another close-up of the Buddha statue.
Washing the Buddha

After washing the Buddha, it's time for lunch! Most Sundays, we have rice, vegetables, kimchi, and soup, but today there was a tent set up outside handing out prepared lunches of sushi, mochi (don't know what it's called in Korean, but it's soft glutinous rice balls with different fillings), soup, fruit, and crackers. Way too much food to eat all at once! I sat on the steps of the Main Hall to eat my sushi and fruit and brought the mochi home with me.

This was my second Buddha's Birthday celebration at Taegosah. It was a lovely, happy day.

Date: 2010-05-17 03:18 am (UTC)
1_mad_squirrel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] 1_mad_squirrel
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.


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