Friday, June 5, 2009

Birthday of the Buddha

Long, long ago, King Suddhodana ruled a land near the Himalaya Mountains.

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One day during a midsummer festival, his wife Queen Maya retired to her quarters to rest. She fell asleep and had a dream. In it, four angels carried her high into mountains a dressed her in flowers.

A white elephant carrying a white lotus

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approached Maya and circled Maya. Then the elephant struck her with his trunk and vanished into her.

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When Maya awoke, she told her husband of the dream. The King summoned 64 Brahmans to come and interpret it.

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They told the king that Queen Maya would give birth to a son. If the son did not leave the household he would become a world conqueror. However, if he were to leave the household he would become a Buddha.

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When the time for the birth grew near, Queen Maya wished to travel to her childhood home, Devadaha, to give birth. She left on a palanquin carried by a thousand courtiers.

On the way to Devadaha, the procession passed Lumbini Grove, which was full of blossoming trees.

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The Queen asked her courtiers to stop. She stepped down from the palanquin and entered the grove. As she reached up to touch the blossoms of the sal tree, her son was born.

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Then the Queen and her son were showered with perfumed blossoms, and two streams of sparkling water poured from the sky to bathe them. The infant stood,  took seven steps, and proclaimed “I alone am the World-Honored One!”


And that was the birthday of the Buddha.


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