On May 07, 2019 Tzu Chi- Bohol celebrates Buddha Day to commemorate the life and wisdom of Sakyamuni Buddha. The simple ceremony was held at the Activity Hall of Tzu Chi office and was participated by Volunteers and beneficiaries from different parts of the province.

Although Buddha Day was celebrated every second Sunday of May, Tzu Chi Volunteer Joven Uy  suggested to conduct the ceremony in advance as the Volunteers from Manila and Taiwan were in Bohol for the Sutra of Water Repentance practice. Since it was the first time for Bohol to hold such ceremony, the Manila Volunteers organized and assisted the local Volunteers to come up with a successful event.

For this year, Tzu Chi- Bohol was the first to conduct Buddha Day in the Philippines and other countries outside of Taiwan. Brother Joven expressed his overwhelming joy that a local celebration was finally realized in the province.

“Today I’m very happy that we are celebrating Buddha Day for the first time. This event is participated by the Volunteers from Cebu and Manila. The local Volunteers, children, and scholars were able to partake in this momentous event,” says Joven Uy.

The ceremony started with offering of scented water, flowers, and candles. The three offerings play a huge role in the ceremony. The scented water cleanses our hearts and minds. The flowers represent acceptance of the good karma while the candles symbolize wisdom.

After the offering, the participants solemnly fall in line, facing the offerings on the table. Each participant dipped his hands on the scented water, picked a flower, and put their palms together to smell its aroma. The fragrance that represents the virtue of the Buddha filled their hearts. The emcee wished them for blessings and auspiciousness before they returned to their seats.

The solemnity of the celebration touched the hearts of the participants. They were grateful to the Volunteers and Master Cheng Yen for giving them the opportunity to take part in the ceremony.

“When I dipped my hands on the water, I felt like a spirit had entered my body. I felt blessed. My happiness was beyond compare that it made me weep tears of joy. I am grateful to Master Cheng Yen for this experience,” shared Lilibeth Lacsado, a local Volunteer from Cortes, Bohol.

Salome Tagyam, a teacher and an active Volunteer has travelled a long way from her hometown in Sagbayan to attend the ceremony. She was thankful that Buddha Day celebration had finally reached Bohol so they no longer have to travel to other locations to join the celebration.

“This is my first time to attend the Buddha Day celebration. Finally, it’s here. I feel happy. It took me several years (as a Volunteer) to attend this very memorable ceremony, “says Salome Tagyam

Buddha Day is a solemn ceremony to cleanse and purify the hearts of the people. As people gather together in fervent prayer, Dharma Master Cheng Yen hopes that the world will be spared from afflictions and disasters as the people’s hearts are renewed by the grace of the Dharma Buddha.