The Vesak-festival is celebrated every year by millions of people all over the world to commemorate the birth and enlightenment of the Buddha. As in many years before, more than 70 of Mataji’s students came together on this weekend to honor our Guru Sri Durgamayi Ma on this special day.
After many years of being a disciple of Sri Neem Karoli Baba, and later of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, Mataji realized Buddha Consciousness within herself. For us students, Mataji is living evidence and thus a constant reminder that enlightenment in this lifetime is possible. And at the same time she is an encouragement and motivation for us to devote our lives to the discovery of our true nature –which, though often still hidden, is transpiring more and more. We practice under the loving, ever-present guidance of our Master which is why we honored her as our Living Buddha at this Vesak Festival.
On Saturday morning, we laid a big mandala made of flower petals in Mataji’s honor while chanting Buddhist mantras in her presence.
The celebration started in the early evening when all disciples entered the temple one by one to be greeted by Mataji. As Mataji took a vow of silence and is not speaking she could not say the words this year that she had spoken to us in all the previous years:
I salute the Buddha in you!
and so, each student who had just been silently greeted by Mataji, spoke to the one following:
Mataji salutes the Buddha in you!
With these simple words, addressed to each one of us, the celebration began.
We began by listening to the recording of a darshan Mataji had given at the Vesak Festival in 2007 and so after a long time we could hear her voice again.
As we had done in the morning, we again sang and recited the powerful mantras ‘Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha’, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum‘ ‘and ‘Om Ah Hung Bendza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung’ and then approached the highlight of the celebrations:
Each student one by one presented a Khatak (Tibetan prayer shawl) to Mataji and received Mataji’s blessings when she laid the scarf around his or her neck. Afterwards, each one of us carried a light to the statue in the Buddha temple where at the end a whole sea of lights glowed.
To conclude the celebrations, two students accompanied by drum and singing bowl powerfully recited the Heart Sutra after having read its inspiring translation to everyone. Then, at Mataji’s request, one student chanted the ‘Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha’ mantra again – all by herself and with a crystal clear voice – touching our hearts.
After the festival many of us felt deep peace and tranquil happiness – we had honored a Living Buddha and thus received the blessings of a Living Buddha.
On Sunday morning, as the final act of the celebrations, Mataji destroyed the Flower Mandala by shuffling all the flower petals.
In Buddhist tradition this is a practice to bring to mind that the moment cannot be held on to, that nothing is lasting and only the Now exists.