Saturday, May 5, 2012

A birth and a death

Today marks the first full moon in the month of May and, as SciGuy noted from an astronomical perspective, this is also an unusually large moon which is referred to as a "Super Moon". 
Screengrabbed from
Most notably to Buddhists, this is the time during which many adherents observe the Buddha's birthdayHuffPost has a nice article and photo spread showcasing various celebrations around the world. 

Some local Temples will be holding birthday services tomorrow (Sunday).  As of last week, the Chua Phap Nguyen Sangha was hoping that some of its lotus buds would be open in time for their planned events.
This is what the Chua Phap Nguyen lotus pond looked like as of April 28, 2012.  Fantastic growth, but no lotuses in full flower as of that date.
The lotus is a powerful image in Buddhism, with its growth, in effect, symbolically recapitulating the spiritual journey from the mud of materialism up through the waters of experience and into the full flowering of enlightenment.

Being powerfully connected to my adopted Texas homeland, I choose not to grow any distinctly Asian lotus plants such as those shown above, but I do grow a very similar species which you'll recognize from the photo below as a water lily.  But not just any water lily - this is a particular local cultivar known as Nymphaea 'Lindsey Woods', so named by its developers, the proprietors of Nelson's Water Gardens in Katy, to commemorate the untimely cancer death of their 14-year-old neighbor.  According to both local reports and the Nelson's website linked above, sales of this lily have thus far raised over $90,000 for Texas Children's Hospital.  And may that institution put it to good research use in the fight against cancer.

And guess what?  At 10:00 a.m. today, May 5, on the full "Supermoon" which many Mahayana Buddhists will celebrate as the Buddha's birthday, without any manipulation or prompting, my 'Lindsey Woods' opened its very first bloom of the year.
A great teacher's birth.
A little girl's death.
The endless arising and ceasing.

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