Hudson Valley Buddhists Invite the Public to a Day of Holy Celebration

Close your eyes....slow down your breathing...feel the heart relaxing every time you breathe out. Let the minutes roll by 1..2..3..4.. until you mind becomes thoughtless... meditation is a traditional practice concerning mindfulness - it is increasing in popularity in Western culture for such items as stress management, education, holistic health and enlightenment... If you've ever thought about diving into this fascinating world you should know that you don't have to be an expert to experience the power of this ancient art. Beginners are welcome...and this weekend all are invited to a celebration of Buddhism and it's practices . Hundreds of Buddhists will gather in Walden on May 5th to celebrate Vesak, Buddhism's holiest day.  This will be the first time that Buddhists in the Hudson Valley have hosted a joint celebration to meditate together with the public on this special occasion.

Historic properties are finding new life as Buddhist monasteries and retreat centers, offering quiet settings for meditation and contemplation. Of particular interest...are the special events open to the public giving everyone an opportunity to see the rich cultural heritage of these centers.

-Susan Hawvermale,Orange County Director of Tourism

This year's celebration will be held at Tsechen Kunchab Ling, Temple of All-Encompassing Great Compassion, located at 12 Edmunds Lane in Walden. The celebration is free and open to the public, 9:30 to 5:00.

People are welcome to drop in and out throughout the day, as their schedule allows.

Buddha Carving from 3rd Century Gandhara

The program will begin with a colorful procession of Buddhists from many different countries, doing walking meditation around the new temple building.

Inside, monks from the various Buddhist traditions will perform melodious chants in honor of the Buddha in their native languages.

Lunch will be a buffet of vegetarian food from all over Asia, each participating temple sharing their ethnic cuisine.

The afternoon program will include meditation, a talk by Venerable Bhikku Bodhi who is a renowned Buddhist scholar from Chuan Yen monastery in Carmel, sacred Korean monastic dance expressing the search for truth, and videos of Vesak celebrations in other parts of the world.

All are welcome to attend.

Walden is delighted to host the first annual Hudson Valley Vesak Celebration. The coming together of people from many different countries and faiths is the essence of American religious freedom and multi-cultural friendship.

-John Ravella, Walden Village Manager

Buddhism is based on practicing compassion and wisdom to create happiness and overcome suffering. "We come together on this holy day in peace and compassion to meditate and pray for happiness and peace of all living beings throughout the world," explained Venerable Gikwang Sunim, abbot of the Korean Temple, Won Kak Sa. "People of all faith traditions, and those of no particular tradition are welcome to join the celebration. Everyone agrees about the need for more happiness and compassion in the world."

Photo Provided

Attached photo caption information: Abbots of Four Buddhist Temples Gather to Plan Celebration of the Buddha's Life. Left to right: Venerable Gikwang Sunim from Wonkaksa; Venerable Khenpo Kalsang Gyaltsen from Tsechen Kunchab Ling; Brother Phap Vu of Blue Cliff Monastery; Venerable Xin-Xing from Dharma Seal Monastery. Taken at Tsechen Kunchab Ling Monastery in Walden, where the May 5 celebration will be held.