On this eighth day of the fourth lunar month, we celebrate the Birth of Shakyamuni Buddha.
From where we are at this time of “shelter in place”, we recite the Scripture of Great Wisdom (the Heart Sutra) out of gratitude, and offer the merit of this recitation to all beings in the world. With this Offertory*, we pray that the darkness of our delusions may be illuminated by true compassion:
“The birth of Shakyamuni brought the sun to a world of darkness and illuminated the whole universe. He took upon Himself the form of a human being, was born with the thirty-two marks of a buddha, and for immeasurable time pursued works of great compassion.
He found and transcended the cause of suffering; all beings, whether saints or ordinary beings, praise this magnificent understanding. His three hundred sermons are for us as rain is for trees and grass. Just as rain causes drooping flowers to flourish, so His words touch our heavy hearts.
At this very moment the Rain of the Dharma pours into the lake of Kindness. The merit of His life may be likened to the wind which, as it bends the grass and fans the leaves, blows the good seed of the Dharma to take root in the hearts of people all over the world even after more than twenty-five hundred years, and will continue to do so not only in this world but also in the next.
We, the disciples of our Original Teacher Shakyamuni, bow in gratitude to Him for his goodness and compassion as we celebrate His Birthday.
We pray that His halo, which is the Light of the Dharma, will illuminate the darkness of the delusion of those beings of this world who have not yet heard His Name.
We pray that all beings may be saved and thus prosper for all eternity.
We pray that the Seed of Buddhahood will bud and blossom into the Flower of Enlightenment so that its beauty may fill the universe.”
(* Adapted from the Offertory chanted at Shasta Abbey on Wesak each year.)
Homage to the Buddha
Homage to the Dharma
Homage to the Sangha