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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hong Kong Series at CantoneseClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind holidays and observances in Hong Kong. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 18 Buddha's Birthday, or 佛誕 in Cantonese.
In this lesson, we will talk about the most important event in Buddhism or 佛教. That’s the Buddha's Birthday, or in Cantonese 佛誕
On the eighth day of the fourth month on the Lunar calendar, all the temples and monasteries in Hong Kong hold liturgy, ceremonial celebrations, and bathing ceremonies to commemorate the birth of Buddha.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you- Buddha's Birthday is also known as the Buddha Bathing Festival. Do you know why?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
The main purpose of celebrating Buddha's Birthday is to remind people to take in the Buddha's wisdom or 智慧, wash away the pollution of the inner self, purify the mind, and to remind people of the reason they need to do good deeds, or 行善 in Cantonese.
Buddhism's code of ethics guides people to perform good deeds and elevate the human spirit realm, and it also acts as an important force in establishing a harmonious society.
These special features of the holiday are unique among the traditional festivals.
In Hong Kong, the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, or 大嶼山, is considered a holy place for Buddhists. The Tian Tan Buddha is there, and it had been known as the world's tallest outdoor bronze sitting Buddha until 2008. The altar underneath the Buddha also showcases the Buddha's relic, which makes this place more special. The monastery has a lot of Chinese-style buildings and is worth a visit. After paying respects to the Buddha, you can also enjoy Buddhist vegetarian food, or 齋菜 in Cantonese, at the monastery.
On the day of Buddha's Birthday, the Po Lin Monastery holds a solemn and grand Buddha's Birthday celebration. It includes a public Buddha bathing ceremony and Shaolin Kung Fu performances, or 功夫表演. The Buddha bathing ceremony is carried out by worshippers pouring fragrant water on the Buddha statue. This is for purifying the mind with the help of Buddha's wisdom.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Buddha's Birthday is also known as the Buddha Bathing Festival. Do you know why?
According to the legend, when Buddha was born, nine dragons, or 龍 in Cantonese, came from the sky and spit water to bathe him. Hence the ritual of the Buddha bathing ceremony is still considered to be one of the important events during this day.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Is there a festival related to Buddhism in your country?
Leave us a comment at CantoneseClass101.com,
and we'll see you next time!


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CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Is there a festival related to Buddhism in your country?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:11 PM
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Hello robert groulx,

You are very welcome. 😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.

Kind regards,


Team CantoneseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 10:16 PM
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thanks for the lesson

my favorite phrase is 功夫表演.

we do not celebrate this holiday