“Flower Festival” is an event that I had been wanting to attend for some time now. I first learned of it while I was taking lessons of a traditional art form, in the form of a seasonal reference. I figured it was just another event to go see the cherry blossoms… how ignorant was I!
It is actually what my people call the celebration for the birth of Buddha, which takes place on April 8th in my homeland. And this year, I finally got the chance to attend it.
I am not a Buddhist, so I could not make sense of a word of the chants the monks of the temple were reciting. Nor was I able to understand the significance of the pose the statue of Buddha is taking, the flowers that are placed around and above him, or the bathing of the statue with sweet tea. But the sermon the chief priest of the temple gave at the end of the event, I took to heart.
He said that between the skies above and the ground beneath that the statue of Buddha points to, all lives are equally precious and deserve equal respect; the more people realize this and live lives with it in mind, the more peace we will find within and amongst us.
So, maybe peace is not brought about all at once but rather require constant effort in each of us to keep looking for pieces of it as we live our lives.
And maybe with more pieces of peace, we can be more at peace with ourselves, and more peace can be brought about in the world.
Feeling very happy I attended the event and a bit wiser from the maybe’s that came to my mind, I was quite satisfied and ready to leave the premises of the temple. But I found a notice saying that there was a special tea serving in a room which is not usually open to public – how could I pass up the opportunity?
And what a truly exquisite time I had there! The room was serene, the host was entertaining, and my fellow guests were a joy to have as a company… it was a piece of peace for me. And before we left the room, all the guests were given this:
The four characters say “bring peace to the world.”
It is a bookmark with one of eight verses of a sacred chant praying for world peace printed on it. A piece of peace, literally!
Maybe it is not as hard finding pieces of peace around us.
Maybe the hard part is in collecting them when they present themselves to us.
And maybe the real effort will be in holding on to them.
As I write this post, I found myself coming full circle – tea led me to the Flower Festival, which brought me back to tea. In my mother tongue, a circle, or a ring, is pronounced the same way as harmony, or peace (the second last character in the bookmark). Hmm, yet another piece of peace.
Maybe it is the one I had to let go some time ago… I hope I can hold on to it this time.