April 28th is Vesak Day in Pittsburgh!
Hundreds of Buddhists from many traditions, and the public as well, will join in Pittsburgh's 11th Annual Vesak, a worldwide celebration which honors the life of Shakyamuni Buddha, the Enlightened One. Councilman Corey O'Connor will be at the event recognizing the celebration with a City Council proclamation of April 28, 2019 as Vesak Day in the City of Pittsburgh.
Over the past 10 years, our gathering has grown to be a joyous occasion, filled with colorful flowers and the beautiful teachings and practices shared by many traditions in a collective Sangha (community) ceremony.
This year's theme - Celebrating the Path of Awakening - expresses the joy shared by our various traditions in discovering the Noble Eight-Fold Path, the path of ethical and mindful living taught by the Buddha, that can carry us and our society beyond the shore of suffering to the place of Well Being. After 2600 years, that Path is still fresh and filled with the flowers of our daily practice. We walk it together.
This year's Program offers a new, more interactive schedule, with much opportunity for families. A shared 30-minute service, held within the Allegheny Unitarian Church, will feature a Dharma teaching, prayers & chants from different Buddhist traditions, and a meditation over the water that will later be used in our Riverside Service. A 1- hour interactive program will follow, within the church, where participants can join in various activities, including bathing the Baby Buddha; learning about the Sounds of Zen (bells, clappers and drumming); a Children's mindful arts activity; making of Blessing Threads (bracelets); and Torma, figures made mostly of flour and butter used as tantric offerings in Tibetan Buddhism.
An important part of our interactive service, and a means of further building our Pittsburgh mahasangha, will be our Working Meditation. We will mindfully and joyfully work together to restore our wonderful host church to how we found it, and also, importantly, to insure that we no longer leave that work to just a few folks who have not been able to join in our Procession and Riverside Service. We will leave no trace, and no person, behind.
A festive procession to the river will follow, as we celebrate and walk the Path of Awakening together. At the the Water Service, we have the opportunity to receive a ladle of water from the monastics, infused with our aspirations for peace, to flow out to the world. Light refreshments will also be available for attendees. The entire program is free and open to the public.
Everyone - is invited, so please Join Us!