The Buddha's Birthday

Vesak, the Buddha’s Birthday

Sunday, May 30, 2021   |  10:00 a.m. – approximately 11:00 a.m. | VIA ZOOM

Vesak, the celebration honoring the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha, will be on Sunday, May 30, beginning at 10 a.m. (There’s no morning sitting prior to the ceremony.) According to tradition, the Buddha was born on April 8. However, for purely practical reasons we celebrate this event when the weather is warmer and we can be outdoors. But things are different this year, and we will not have an outdoor portion of the ceremony—no elephant parade, no balloons, no pot luck. Read on for details.

Since we are unable to gather in a large group, the ceremony will be geared to those who are Zooming in. However, we will be able to have a limited number of fully vaccinated (adult only) people at the Center as well. If you would like to be physically present, please complete the registration at the bottom of this page by May 27.

This is how the ceremony will unfold:

  • The ceremony begins at 10:00. Everyone should be logged onto Zoom by that time as we will begin chanting the Kanzeon and the ceremony will start in the Buddha Hall.
  • Those present will enter, pour tea over the Baby Buddha and present their flower offering. (There’s no gift offering this year—more about that later.)
  • And then comes the puppet show telling of the story of the Buddha’s birth.
  • After the story, we will bring out Buddha’s Birthday cupcakes and everyone will sing Happy Birthday and virtually blow out the candles. By the way, the recipe for the Zen Center’s birthday cake is available here in case you want to make one.

In normal years, in addition to the flower offering, everyone brings a baby gift. Since that’s not possible this year, we’re suggesting that people make a donation to their local food shelf. And, sadly, once again there won’t be an opportunity to give children a special Vesak gift.

Of all the Buddhist holidays, this is the most fun. After all, it’s a birthday party! We hope to see you there!