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Buddha’s Light International Association of Solomon Islands celebrated its very first Buddha’s Birth Day with a Bathing of the Buddha event.

On the 15th of May 2024, the Buddha’s Light International Association of Solomon Islands (BLIASI) celebrated its very first Buddha’s Birth Day, since the chapter’s inauguration, with a Bathing of the Buddha event in Honiara. Under the leadership of BLIASI President, Hii Yii Ging, 40 people attended including, BLIASI members, teachers from Woodford International School and local Solomon Islanders.

President of BLIASI, Hii Yii Ging, welcomed attendees by sharing the significance of bathing the Buddha. He expressed that by using fragrant water to bathe the statue of the infant Buddha, it is symbolic of the purification of our body, speech and mind to cultivate wisdom, as well as a reminder to practice the Three Acts of Goodness in our daily lives to do good deeds, speak good words and think good thoughts. 

Together, attendees read and discussed the origin, purpose and significance of bathing the Buddha, followed by a procedural demonstration of how to bathe the Buddha. Those in attendance then individually participated in the bathing of the Buddha ceremony. This was then followed by a vegetarian appreciation dinner organised by BLIASI in order to creatively showcase a variety of meat-free dishes using produce readily available in the country. As attendees enjoyed dinner, they reflected and shared their personal thoughts on their Bathing of the Buddha experience. 

Local Solomon Islander friends, Ketty Ribeni and Jennifer Rex, expressed that they were sincerely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Bathing of the Buddha ceremony. They shared that Buddhism is new to them and generally unknown within the Solomon Islands as it is predominantly a Christian nation, but through this event, they were able to understand the importance of self-reflection and that practicing the Three Acts Goodness starts from oneself. They were excited to share what they had learnt with their friends and to encourage them to practice the Three Acts of Goodness together. 

Maria Hernandez, Middle School Curriculum Coordinator from Woodford International School, is from the USA and not a Buddhist herself, but was interested in attending the event after hearing about it. She shared that when she was working in countries such as India and Japan, she encountered female monks and had many questions, which she never had the opportunity to ask. By attending this event, she was able to ask BLIASI committee members questions to better understand Buddhism, the concept of Humanistic Buddhism and its incorporation into her work and life. Additionally, she shared that she is looking forward to visiting Fo Guang Shan branches in countries where she will work in the future. 

BLIASI members summarised their thoughts and experiences by sharing that they felt peace and joy on Buddha’s Birth Day. By bathing the Buddha, it was a physical reminder to keep body, speech and mind pure, as well as to cultivate wisdom and compassion, which only comes through daily practice. To come together with like-minded individuals on the auspicious day of the Buddha’s birth was a moment of immense gratitude felt by all. 

As BLIASI’s first Buddha Birth Day celebrations came to a close, BLIASI members were inspired to continue propagating Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s Humanistic Buddhism teachings in the Solomon Islands. 

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