Today is the 19th day of the 9th lunar month, the third of three birthdays for the Lady Buddha Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy and Compassion.
All over the world on Kuan Yin’s birthday, devotees flock to Her temples and shrines to pray and make offerings.
Traditionally, one celebrates Her birthday by
- Taking a vow to become vegetarian for life or at least eat vegetarian on this day or fasting altogether
- Silent contemplation and meditation
- Performing acts of charity, giving alms to the poor and orphans, visiting old folks
- Offering fruits, flowers and incense at temples
- Practicing animal release of birds, turtles, fish, crickets and crabs
- Refraining from alchohol and sex
- Burning joss papers
- Perambulation of Her statue in a moving shring (Kwun Yum in Hong Kong)
- Performing the Great Compassion Dharani seven times as the great celebratory rite for Her birthday
- Watching lion dances, puppet shows and Chinese operas staged on the temple's open grounds
- Reciting Her mantras (Om Mani Padme Hum or Om Namo Guan Shih Yin Pu’sa) 108 times
- Taking home holy water from a basin filled with water and flowers for bathing and purifying your karma
- Fortune telling with the Kuan Yin Oracle
For myself, today I’ll be visiting a temple; burning special joss paper offerings here at home; buying bottles of water and tea to hand out; meditating; doing her mantra 108 times (Om Namo Guan Shih Yin Pu’sa); consulting Her oracle; and eating vegetarian.
Please let me know if you do anything to celebrate!
“I am the one whose love overcomes you, already with you when you think to call my name”.