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December 5, 2023

Hanamatsuri–The Flower Festival

This month Buddhist throughout the world are celebrating the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha with the celebration called Hanamatsuri the Flower Festival. The name comes from the legend of Shakyamuni’s birth in Lumbini’s Garden and the many flowers that were in bloom that day in April. In our Pure Land tradition, the emphasis is on not so much the birth but the reason the Buddha appeared in the world. It was the Buddha’s wish for the world that is important. 

And that wish is that all beings wherever they are find peace, harmony and enlightenment.  In other words, may all beings be free from suffering, hatred and pain. There is no better time than now when the teachings of the Buddha are needed in this world.  

The Buddha taught that there is a way to resolve the sufferings in our lives, and the sufferings in the world. The foundation of suffering is blind passions. It is greed, anger and ignorance that drive those blind passions. It is the Buddha’s wish that these are eliminated from us and from the world. We are connected together in this world and when one being is suffering we are all suffering. We are linked with the earth and all that it offers us. We are blessed to be born in this world and blessed what it provides for us.

The Infinite Compassion of the Buddha shines on each and every one of us, we are all linked together as recipients of that compassion. My colleagues and I as Buddhist priests, therefore, condemn the war in Ukraine and send forth loving thoughts toward those who are suffering as a result of the unjust war. On the celebration of the birth of the Buddha we submit to the world our joint statement against the war.  

“Guided by the Buddhist principles of Wisdom & Compassion, the Ministers Association of the Buddhist Churches of America opposes the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Buddha taught that Greed, Hatred, and Ignorance are poisons, and we see all three fueling this war. 

Wisdom recognizes that all things are interconnected, and the fallout from this war will affect not only the refugees but so many others as well, from the soldiers on both sides, to the environment and to the entire world. 

Buddha’s Compassion recognizes that all life has value and happiness for all beings is the ideal. This is seen in the Metta Sutta with the aspiration, “May all beings be happy – May they be joyous and living in safety.” Our founder, Shinran Shonin, expressed the wish, “May there be peace in the world.” 

“We are in favor of relief to the victims, and call for this war to end.”

Rev. Hosei Shinseki leads the Watsonville Buddhist Temple. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the Pajaronian.


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