Spring Time and Flower Festivals

March 28, 2018
Tokyo, Japan

As spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere with nature blossoming anew, this time of year is traditionally celebrated as a moment of renewal and re-birth in many spiritual traditions.

On March 28th Shinnyo Buddhists around the world celebrated the 112th Anniversary of the Birth of their Founding Master Shinjo Ito. Auspiciously, this date falls amidst the famous cherry blossom season in Japan.

During the celebration Her Holiness Shinso Ito mentioned to the audience:

“Because our Founding Master Shinjo was born into this world, Shinnyo-en exists as it does today. In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra it is indicated, ‘The manifestation of a buddha is immense and limitless. It is unfathomable. Therefore, the buddha is ever-present’. Our Founder always brought joy, happiness and healing to people. When you believe in the ever-present, your inner flower will bloom and you’ll bring joy to more people. Cherry blossoms are beautifully blooming, symbolizing that the flower inside of all of you is blooming as well. It’s the part of you that brings joy to others.”

This was followed closely by April 8th when many Mahayana traditions celebrate the Birthday of Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha Shakyamuni. This ceremony is also known as the Flower Festival; tradition tells us that the celestial beings caused flowers to rain down from the heavens when Siddhartha was born. Shinnyo-en members and their families participated in the festival through the traditional anointing of a statue of the young Buddha with sweet tea, an emblem of the life-giving, mild rains of spring.

Shinnyo-en’s annual celebration of Buddha Shakyamuni’s Birth was led by Head Priest, Shinso Ito, who officiated at the Festival of the Buddha's Birth service at Shinnyo-en's Ogen Center in Tachikawa, Tokyo.

Her Holiness Shinso Ito reminded the audience:

“Legend has it that right after his birth Shakyamuni was pointing one hand toward the heavens and one toward the earth, proclaiming that he would be a sacred being. Buddha attained enlightenment and taught others the Way. Our Founders made that state of enlightenment real and accessible for us.

Each of you has a buddha nature, you have enlightenment inside you. Look at the person next to you. Do they look the same as you? No, everyone has a unique face. There is only one of you in this world. Buddha Shakymuni is not the only special being; each and every one of you is so important and valuable.

When you’re born into this world, it is certain that you will die. We’re getting closer to death, one step a time. That’s why it’s important to find out as soon as possible what you can do and achieve while you’re alive.”