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God. Life. Spirituality.

Shakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday: What It Means For Us

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The real Buddha sits within.


Today, April 8, we celebrate the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha. Sharing this short reflection about what his birthday means for us.

We could celebrate the birth of the Buddha thinking that we are having a birthday party for a somewhat mythological guy who lived several thousands of years ago. And that would be okay, but, it would really be missing the point. Because the point of Buddha’s birthday is to take a day out to celebrate a buddha being born, but to do that, really, we have to understand what “buddha” really is.

Now, scholars agree that there probably was a man who lived in this region of this world, around this time, and was a great person and a great teacher. And today is as good a day as any to deeply thank this person for what he brought to the world. But, today of all days is also a great day to really think about what a Buddha is, because what a Buddha is, is not limited to one person. What Buddha really is, is a moment whenever great wisdom and compassion come together in this world in a thought, or action, in kind word, a moment of selfless generosity, and helps to free up this world. That’s what Buddha is. What Buddha showing up in this world really is, is when any one of us, or anyone else in this world suddenly remembers how precious we are, and how important all the beings and things around us are, and how we are all so closely connected, and we act or speak or even think from that place.

Do you know these moments? Have you seen them? When the idea we usually carry around of ourselves as “me:” over here, and “the rest of the world:” over there, dissolves even for a second, and somebody, sometimes even ourself, acts with tremendous kindness and a deep, deep knowing of what is good and right to do in that moment. That’s a Buddha being born. There are Buddhas that last for ages, and there are Buddhas that last for just a few seconds, but it doesn’t matter, they are all wondrous gifts to this world. Moments of Buddhas showing up are ours to receive, and also ours to give, and both ours to celebrate!

So today we take a little time to remember to be joyful and thankful and to even have a feeling of a party together for the truth of great wisdom and kindness arising in our hearts, arising in others, and greatly benefitting, nourishing, awakening, delighting, freeing up and honoring this world.

–Dojin Emerson

Written by MattAndJojang

April 8, 2021 at 10:48 am

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