Sunday, May 3, 2009

2009 May Buddha's Birthday and the Fire

Buddha's Birthday and the Fire

Creating Malas

Baby Buddha

Buddha's Birthday was a beautiful event. The bouquets of flowers and fruit baskets around the temple areas were striking. The food was plentiful and delicious too. The weatherman said that it was going to rain all day. The day was a lovely sunny one.

After the event, people were still eating in the main house as part of the temple caught fire. Some damage occurred to the alter, several holy books were burned, and there was a great deal of smoke damage to the interior of the temple. The Amitibul statue is very damaged. However, Amitibul is credited with saving the other Buddhas from harm. Amitabul is associated with the element of fire.+

The damage to the Amitibul statue is especially difficult for reasons much greater than the expense of the loss itself. Master Dae San, Sue Yen Sunim, the other monks and temple people participate in several activities, many hours of prayer, and an Open Eye Ceremony in preparation for the statue.

A great deal of clean up is needed after the fire.

Fire is one of the elements represented on the Buddhist altar. Fire can be a warming life saver or a complete destroyer. Rebuilding is also an important part of the Buddhist path. At any point, even the most accomplished student reassesses with new points of view, embracing lessons learned to move forward. There are many Buddhist rebuilding stories involving the greatest of teachers and masters. This is reflected in expressions such as, "...the purifying fire of wisdom." The impermanence of life itself is perhaps our greatest lesson everyone must face.

Milarepa, the great Buddhist teacher, was commanded to build many stone towers by his guru Marpa. Milarepa had to tear each tower down after building, returning the stones to their original locations. Throughout the rebuilding and tearing down, Milarepa never comprehended the great cycle he was involved in. Finally, as Milarepa contemplated suicide, Marpa offered the teachings.

Milarepa was brought to the desolate caves of southwestern Tibet for a lifelong retreat. One day gathering firewood he faced a great storm. The penetrating winds blew the wood away as quickly as he could gather it. While he never submitted to the building and un-building tasks, he finally surrendered to the wind.

"What is the use of practicing Dharma if one cannot subdue ego-clinging? Let the wind blow my wood away if it likes. Let the wind blow my robe off if it wishes!"*

As he said this he fainted. Upon awakening, the storm had ended and his meager robe was fluttering in a nearby tree.

After this experience, Milarepa returned to the cave successfully facing his demons.

Although it is too early to know exactly what teaching is within this fire for the temple, there are many lessons contained within rebuilding. People worked together in preventing the fire from spreading and successfully stopped it. Michelle, a visitor at the temple that day said this was good luck since the fire could have been much worse. The firemen arrived to the temple quickly and were mindful of the temple itself, even apologizing for the shoes. With the help and support of the many temple members, the temple can also recover well from the damage. Rebuilding is a time to display developed strength and community of the temple.

To see more photos of Buddha's Birthday and the other events of the day, visit the online photo album.

Please take your time to express your support for the temple.

Dae Yen Sa International Buddhist Temple and Meditation Center, 19 Kinsey Road, New Hartford, CT 06057
Phone: 860-489-3254 Temple
Cell: 860-459-6255 Sue Yen Sunim
Cell: 860-922-2607 Master
Fax: 860-489-5760


News Stories from Buddha's Birthday:

Temple celebrates Buddha's birthday

Buddha statue may have saved temple from fire


Text References:



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