We come together to create the flower Garden of Lumbini where Siddhartha Gautama was born in 563 BCE.
Like us, the Garden of Lumbini is different each year…
Children, and those young at heart, love this Flower Festival and take turns to pour sweet tea over the baby who was to become Shakyamuni Buddha
Sunday, April 16, Service:
9:45 AM: Today’s silent meditation is to create a Garden of Lumbini. All welcome, especially children. We will decorate our little Lumbini Garden with flowers. Each flower you add will be your focus for this meditation. Flowers will be supplied; bring a few of your own, if you wish.
10:30 AM: Shin Buddhist Sangha Gathering and Service: Rev. Anita Tokuzen Kazarian
Cleveland Buddhist Temple 78th
observance of Hanamatsuri, Birth of Siddhartha Gautama, our annual Flower Festival.
April Memorial Service: Expressing gratitude to our ancestors who passed away in the month of April.
Following the Service: Following coffee and cake, we will hold a short gathering to discuss a section of text, to be provided. As all things are impermanent, we will remember with joy the 2023 Lumbini Garden and its relevance to our lives today and then, remove all the flowers to take home.
Dhammapada, a collection of verses of Shakyamuni Buddha
Fish & Flower & Female Buddha (Sakana, Hana to Butsujo), 1957 Munakata Shikō (Japanese 1903-1975) Cleveland Museum of Art
The Rod: 141-142
Neither nakedness nor matted hair
nor mud nor the refusal of food
nor sleeping on the bare ground
nor dust & dirt nor squatting austerities
cleanses the mortal
who’s not gone beyond doubt.
If, though adorned, one lives in tune
with the chaste life
– calmed, tamed, & assured –
having put down the rod toward all beings,
he’s a contemplative
Oh no, I’d never do that! Ha! Of course I would. I have done that, am doing it now and will continue to do it again tomorrow. I didn’t think I was that way, but I am. It’s when I wonder why I am so dissatisfied at times that I have the realization that I am no different from anyone else.
Those who attend our monthly service have heard me go on about my new driveway that was torn out the following summer because it was not safe to use. I keep saying I have the most expensive driveway in town, two new ones in less than 12 months. Boy, did I have a “just” grievance, one I could take to the bank. But was it? I could not let it go no matter what. I thought I had, but I’d see the driveway every day and every day I’d recall how I was cheated. Over time, I went from feeling boiling hot anger to an unrelenting simmer but couldn’t let it go. Then one day I realized it was me, not the contractor who cheated me.
How could I cheat myself? I cheated myself out of peace of mind, good health, time to do other things and most importantly, putting aside the most basic of Buddhist teachings – attachment. I knew I was right and I wanted justice. I was so attached to “I am right” that suffering took its toll.
Then it hit me, I saw the unresolvable attachment. It was then that life opened up new doors for me that I couldn’t see before because of the grievance I was hoarding. The funny part was I accidently ran into the “bad” contractor over eggplants at the grocery store. We were still masked back then but I knew exactly who he was. I didn’t feel anything except confusion. Confusion over why I didn’t feel the anger that was part of the grievance I had held onto for so long.
Hoarding is what we humans do on many different levels, but there are just some things in this life we may not want to hoard. It was not about forgiving him. It was about letting go of what I was reluctant to let go of, my grievance. There is a big difference between forgiving and letting go, but that is for another time.
Namo Amida Butsu
Excerpts of Buddhist voices across teachings, across continents, across time.
The Spirit in Which the Buddha Wished His Teachings to Be Taken
Let us look at ways in which the Buddha approached his own teaching activity – I suppose one could call them meta-teachings. Perhaps the most famous and important of all, the Kālāma Sutta, has already been presented in chapter 1; there the Buddha tells his audience not to take his words on trust but to test the validity of the touchstone of their own experience.
There is a well-known Sanskrit proverb that one should not speak unless what one says is both true and pleasant. The Buddha changed this principle: questioned by a prince called Abhaya, he said that he would always speak what he knew to be true and beneficial, and knew the time to say it even if it was disagreeable. Typically, he justified this by pointing to a baby on the prince’s lap and asking the prince what he would do if the baby put a stick or pebble in its mouth; the prince agreed he would take it out even if doing so hurt the baby. (Indeed, every vinaya rule is prefaced by an incident in which a monk or nun does something for which the Buddha finds it necessary to admonish them before laying down the rule to prevent the same thing happening again.) On the other hand, he assures the prince that he will not say anything which is true and agreeable, but not beneficial. 12
The result of this self-denying ordinance was that the Buddha condemned all theorizing which has no practical value. Whether we like it or not, he tended to be quite harsh on those who indulged in metaphysical speculation. In the Pali tradition, the very first sutta in the entire collection of his sermons is the Brahma-jāla Sutta, which spans many pages listing the kinds of speculation that people indulge in concerning both the world and the self, and then saying that the Buddha has himself realized their seductive power and made his escape from them. This is so despite the fact that in these long lists of ideological positions the couple which do in fact seem to correspond to the Buddha’s own views. The point is, however, that they are not the kind of thing that he thinks it beneficial to talk about, let alone to insist on.
By contrast, it is significant that many sermons are devoted to analysis of how we experience the world – what we would call cognitive psychology.
The Buddha’s position on these matters is succinctly stated in his famous reply to Māluṅkyāputta. The latter was a monk who came to the Buddha saying that he felt he would have to give up his robes unless the Buddha could give him answers to the following questions: whether the world was eternal; whether it was finite; whether the soul was the same as the body or different; whether a
tathāgata exists after death, does not exist, both exists and does not exist, or neither exists nor does not exist. The Buddha replies that he had never promised to answer these questions. Māluṅkyāputta was like a man wounded by a poison arrow who refused to let the surgeon remove it until he knew the surgeon’s caste and many other personal details about him, as well as other irrelevant information about the arrow. Just as that man would die before the information could be provided, so would die the person who was waiting for the Buddha to explain these matters. “So,” says the Buddha, “remember what I have left unexplained as unexplained and remember what I have explained as explained… Why have I left [your questions] unexplained? Because they are of no benefit and do not lead to nirvana. What I have explained is the Four Noble Truths, because they are beneficial and lead to nirvana.” 13
Excerpted, in gratitude from: What the Buddha Thought by Richard Gornbrich. Equinox, Sheffield, 2013 pp166-167
As Buddhists, death is a time of transformation from this life of samsara. It is also a time for the family and friends of the deceased to hear the teachings of the Buddha on impermanence. The minister’s message and the sutra chanting form the core of the funeral service. Funeral gatherings are for the sake of the living and attendance by family and friends is encouraged.
Understanding death is necessary to understand life. As Rennyo, our 8th Monshu in the 15th century), writes in his Letter on White Ashes: "The fragile nature of human life underlies both the young and old."
The Funeral Services may be conducted at a location chosen by the family and coordinated with the Resident Minister. A Homyo or Buddhist name, which reflects the life of the deceased, is chosen by the Supervising Minister and presented by the Resident Minister at the service. This Homyo accompanies the deceased as she or he passes on to Buddhahood.
Families may arrange to hold the following Memorial Services following the Funeral or in place of a funeral service. They may be private services arranged with the Resident Minister, or they may be held with the Sangha at the monthly service.
Cycles for holding Memorial Services following a Funeral are based on ancient Japanese counting; it is the Memorials that are held, not the years following death.
First week (7th day) following burial or cremation - The first memorial service to be held is also called the seventh day service. This service is usually held after the burial or cremation. It is the first time the family gathers together after the physical body of their loved one is no longer among them. It is the time to turn to one another for support and listen to the Dharma for strength and guidance.
Seventh week (49th day) about a month and a half to two months after death - The next is on the 49 day period of mourning after death and is another opportunity to listen to the Dharma.
Hatsu-bon memorial is held on the 1st year anniversary from date of death. It is held during the Temple’s annual Obon Service held in July of each year
For the traditional calendar of services following Obon, please speak with the minister.
Monthly Memorial Service
A tradition that evolved in the United States is our Monthly Memorial Service. It takes place on the third Sunday of each month and is part of our Shin Buddhist Service. We recognize the names of those who passed in that designate month and offer incense in gratitude. This Memorial Service is shared with our Sangha and guests. Family and friend are encouraged to attend in the month their loved one is remembered with gratitude.
Memorial services have a long history in Buddhism. Family and close friends gather at the memorial services to help emphasize that death is a natural occurrence in life and is not something to be feared. It is an opportunity of reinforcing family ties beyond one's immediate family and which helps to create a sense of continuity from generation to generation.
The memorial service in Shin Buddhism is not for the sake of the dead. In holding the service in memory of the deceased, we acknowledge our ties to the various causes and conditions in our life that allow us to exist.
Memorial services provide us with the opportunity to quietly meditate or reflect upon the cherished memories of the deceased and they remind us of the impermanency of life. This reflection brings us to further awareness of our own changing existence. As we recall the countless benefits bestowed upon us by the deceased, there arises within us a feeling of gratitude toward the deceased and others for making life possible for us.
By realizing the true significance of memorial services in light of the Shin teaching, it will become more significant and meaningful to us. In the Western tradition the family registers the name of the deceased to be remembered each year, thereafter, in that month’s Memorial Service.
Sangha members may submit names of loved ones to Rev. Anita to be registered in the proper month.