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Buddha’s breath of harmony calms city buzz, Melbourne (Australia)

Monday 17 May 2010

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Photo of People offering prayers during Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival at Melbourne s Federation Square on Sunday May 16, 2010.

In Asia, Buddha bathing and blessing ceremonies would usually happen on temple grounds, but Federation Square was touched with tranquillity at the weekend’s Buddha Day and Multicultural Festival.

About 95,000 curious Melburnians meandered through and embraced the themes of harmony, peace and cultural awareness - many lured in by the aromas coming from food stalls along River Terrace.

Now in its 15th year, the not-for-profit festival celebrates the birthday of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became the founder of Buddhism in 623BC.

Buddhist talks and prayer ceremonies peppered the precinct, along with cultural demonstrations: the art of tai chi, meditation and a tea ceremony, which aimed to encourage relaxation amid the city’s buzz.

Jacinta Tchen, assistant to the president of the Buddha’s Light International Association of Victoria, said the festival celebrated ’’humanistic Buddhism’’, the art of living the life of Buddha in a modern age.

’’We show people things they can actually apply to everyday life; they don’t have to shave their head and meditate for half an hour a day,’’ she said.
’’One of the beautiful things about Buddhism is that they are guidelines to life; you can do it if you’d like to, but there is no rule saying you’ll burn if you don’t.’’

Lord mayor Robert Doyle said Melbourne’s ’’diverse cultural groups, expressive people and many unique celebrations’’ gave the city its harmony and soul.

Victorian Multicultural Commission chairman George Lekakis said Victoria had a strong reputation for ’’respecting and celebrating cultural diversity’’.

’’It is through festivals such as this that Victorians from all backgrounds can experience and share in our rich multicultural and multi-faith heritage.’’

Buddha’s Light International donated $2000 to the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and $2000 to SecondBite, a not-for-profit organisation that gives food to disadvantaged people

Source : http://www.theage.com.au

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