Taichung City Buddhist Association (臺中市佛教會) celebrated the 2556th birthday anniversary of Gautama Buddha (釋迦牟尼) today (April 8). Presenting at the Buddha bathing ceremony were 70 exhibit and refreshment booths organized by various Buddhist organizations in Taichung City and more than 5,000 worshippers. Mayor Jason Hu and city councilmen Hsu Shui-bin and Liu Shi-zhou also participated in the events. Many booths invited Mayor Hu to taste their vegetarian dishes. Crowds of people asked Mayor Hu to have photos taken with them.
Mayor Hu said that he attended the ceremony every year but it was much more meaningful this year, because he had recently converted to Buddhism and he felt as much blessed as those Buddhists on the site. He also expressed his thanks to those Buddhist temples and masters gathering here today to commemorate the 2556th birthday anniversary of Gautama Buddha.
Mayor Hu said that each time when he goes abroad, he usually worships in Buddhist temples, such as the four-faced Brahma (四面佛) and Jade Buddha (玉佛) in Bangkok, and that if he has the opportunity to go to India, he will worship Gautama Buddha in person and pray for all the citizens of Taichung City.
In today’s celebration, marvelous performances were made by some choir groups, such as Miaoyin Choir of Fahua Temple (法華寺妙音合唱團), Ciyun Choir of Zhongtian Temple (中天寺慈韻合唱團), Weichen Choir (微塵合唱團), Baoshan Monastery (寶山禪寺), and Everbright Community College (光大社區大學). Among them, Everbright was highly praised by Mayor Hu, who jokingly said to join them when he learned a while later that the group had just learnt after Xiao Jin Zhi Opera Troup (小金枝歌劇團) for six weeks.