Maui Buddhists will be celebrating Hanamatsuri, or Flower Festival, which marks the birth of the man who would become the Buddha, on Sunday and April 8 with gatherings in Central and West Maui and Paia.
According to the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, Shakyamuni Buddha or Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini Flower Garden, Nepal, on April 8 about 2,500 years ago. He would later become enlightened and found the Buddhist religion.
The Central Maui celebration will be held Sunday at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku, beginning at 9 a.m. Members of the Wailuku and Kahului Jodo, Wailuku Shingon, Wailuku Hongwanji, Makawao Hongwanji and Kahului Hongwanji and Puunene Nichiren missions will be participating in this gathering.
The Rev. Jeffery Soga, resident minister of Kahului Hongwanji, will deliver the dharma talk. A potluck luncheon will follow.
The West Maui event will be held Sunday at the Lahaina Jodo Mission at 9:30 a.m. Members of the Lahaina Hongwanji, Shingon and Jodo missions will be attending.
The Rev. Kenji Oyama, resident minister of the Paia Mantokuji Soto Zen Mission, will be guest speaker.
A Hanamatsuri celebration will be held April 8, beginning at 10 a.m. at Paia Mantokuji Soto Zen Mission. The guest speaker will be the Rev. Soeki Matsui, secretary general of the Myoshinji School, Rinzai Zen Mission from Kyoto, Japan.
At these celebrations, Buddhists will pour sweet tea over a statue of a baby Buddha. According to legend, sweet rain fell from the sky upon the Buddha's birth. He took seven steps and pointed to heaven and Earth, proclaiming, "I alone am the World Honored One." Worshippers pour sweet tea over the baby Buddha to signify the gentle rain that fell that day.
Mayor Alan Arakawa signed a proclamation Tuesday designating the week of April 1 to 8 as Hanamatsuri Week.