2023 Mid-Autumn Festival Banquet
Moonlight Bodhisattva's Birthday
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, holds cultural and spiritual significance in various Asian traditions, including Buddhism. It celebrates unity, gratitude, and family reunion. In Buddhism, it symbolizes harmony, enlightenment, and the cyclical nature of life. The full moon represents spiritual realization and the potential for awakening.
On the day of the Mid-Autumn festival 2023, we came together with profound gratitude for His Holiness, the Vajra Master Jinke Xuanlei. Emerging from the ancient mountains of China in the early 1990s and having attained an awakened mind, the Vajra Master embarked on a mission to share the essence of Buddhism with the world.
His journey has spanned continents, touching the lives of countless sentient beings. From presidents and political leaders to spiritual figures of diverse traditions, and every soul fortunate to cross his path, his guidance and teachings have resonated across all strata of society. His boundless wisdom, compassion, and universal love have left an indelible mark on hearts far and wide. It is with sincere recognition that we acknowledge that, were it not for him, we would not be gathered here this evening.
On this auspicious day of the full moon, we invited our guests to reflect upon the profound teachings and missions the Vajra Master has brought with him to the United States through his work — the World Peace Mandala, an exquisite masterpiece adorning the Prayer Hall at Jinyin Temple. It portrays at its core our cherished planet, the world we call home. Encircling it are representatives of various faiths, unified in prayer for peace, unity, and harmony. This visual testament mirrors the essence of this evening, embodying the very essence of his teachings.
We also want to thank our dear friends and connections from near and far and from all walks of life who joined us for this evening. Together we offered our sincerity to each other and to the world; we offered this beautiful evening of togetherness and joy to the Guru, to the Buddha, to the Sangha, to our parents of the past present, and future, to our selfless bodies and minds, and to all sentient beings. The mantra we sang together conveyed the message Oneness that we strive to cultivate: Ankele, Yekesuo, I am a yageda, you are a yageda, she is a yageda, he is a yageda.
Embracing tradition, Buddhists celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival with a sacred Fire Offering with which we concluded the evening. Fire offering is an important ritual in Vajrayana Buddhism. Homa in Sanskrit, the ritual is a votive offering involving the construction of a fire in a hearth-altar and the immolation of offerings in the fire. Flames symbolize transformation and purification as devotees offer prayers for enlightenment and release from suffering. This ritual deepens spiritual connections and fosters unity. During this tantric ritual, deities are evoked for blessing as we pray in this harvest season for continued success for all sentient beings in their endeavors.
May this season bring all sentient beings success and prosperity! Ankele! Yekesuo!