The birthday of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the person who became known as Shakyamuni Buddha, is to some extent, still a mystery. Not only is the exact day not known, but scholars continue to debate the year, some recently arguing for a date considerably earlier than was previously thought.
But Zen Buddhists celebrate April 8 as the Buddha’s Birthday, and this year, the Zen Group of Chattanooga will bring together three Buddhist traditions to offer a day of meditation, dharma talks (lectures) and performance on April 10 to honor the great teacher.
Anyone interested in Buddhism will find times during the event to learn more, as Zen meditation instruction, a lecture by a Theravadan monk on "Who Was Shakyamuni Buddha?," another with chanting by followers of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and yet another from a representative of the Zen Group, will be presented. Beginners’ instruction in zazen, or the Zen form of meditation will be offered as well.
Performances designed to celebrate Buddhist thought will also be featured, including a reading of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (Ginsberg was a practicing Tibetan Buddhist), three short plays inspired by Buddhist themes, and a performance by the musical group NADA.
The day will be a benefit for the Chattanooga Zen Center, leading to the goal of incorporation as a nonprofit and eventually establishing its own space and zendo, so a $5 donation at the door will be welcomed, but no one will be turned away.
What: Buddha’s Birthday Celebration
When: Noon to 6 p.m., Sunday, April 10
Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave., Chattanooga
How Much: $5 suggested donation
For more information: (423) 622-2862 or http://www.aszc.org/zgc/index.html
12:00 Meditation Instruction (Zen)
12:30 Dharma Talk: Who Was Shakyamuni Buddha? Thanissara: Theravadan
1:15 15-minute sitting (Zen)
1:30 Reading of Ginsberg's "HOWL"
2:00 Buddha's Birthday Cake Cutting/Chanting
2:30 Tara Mandala Sangha (Tibetan)
3:00 Meditation instruction (Zen)
3:30 15-minute sitting (Zen)
3:45 Dharma Talk: Shokai
4:15 Three short Buddhist plays
4:45 NADA sacred music/chanting
5:45 15-minute sitting (Zen)