STORY 29 – OFFERING OF FLOWERS TO THE BUDDHA
by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni
During our pilgrimage to India in 2006, we visited the New Delhi Museum to pay respect to the Buddha’s relic. The tour leader kindly prepared two bouquets of flowers, one for the monks and one for the nuns to be offered to the Buddha’s relic for the forgiveness ceremony at the museum. However, one of the bouquet of flowers was missing during the time we were inside the museum.
We had our forgiveness ceremony as a group led by the monks. As we were just about to leave, the tour leader found the other bouquet of flowers. I held the flowers in my hand, while the pilgrims from our group, as well as the pilgrims from Sri Lanka present in the hall, came to touch the flowers to join in the offerings.
Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri led the offering of flowers ceremony and chanted the gatha, like we did in the monastery regularly:
Pujemi Buddham kusumena’nena
Puunena-m-etena ca hotu mokkham
Puppham milayati yatha idam me
Kayo tatha yati vinasa-bhavam.
This bouquet of flowers,
Beautiful, fragrant and excellent,
I offer at the holy lotus feet
Of the noble lord of sages
With these flowers I venerate the Buddha,
By this merit may I gain liberation.
As these flowers fade and wither
So will my body be destroyed.
It was a magical and inspiring moment. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri and I had the opportunity to offer flowers with our own hands to the Buddha’s relic and chanted the gatha in a sea of white clothed pilgrims.
We bowed down to the Lord Buddha with great respect, gratitude and faith.