Happy Hanamatsuri / Vesak! Due to operational commitments I could not post this message so it is late for Hanamatsuri (Japanese Buddhist observance of Buddha's Birthday, which falls on April 8) and it is a little early for Vesak (the commemoration of Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment, and Parinirvana, which is celebrated in May). I hope you are able to return to your homes and temples for observance of these events. The celebration of Buddha's Birth is not merely about historical details, legends, and dates, or only a commemoration of the Tathagata's life, but is a teaching to all people that Enlightenment is possible for all beings regardless of distinctions and abilities, thereby making "every wish fulfilled."
"The Sakya clansmen dwelt along the Rohini River which flows among the southern foothills of the Himalayas. Their king, Shuddhodana Gautama, established his capital at Kapilavastu and there had a great castle built and ruled wisely, winning the acclaim of his people.
The Queen's name was Maya. She was the daughter of the King's uncle who was also the king of a neighboring district of the same Shakya clan.
For twenty years they had no children. But one night Queen Maya had a strange dream, in which she saw a white elephant entering her womb through the right side of her chest, and she became pregnant. The King and the people looked forward with anticipation to the birth of a royal child. According to their custom the Queen returned to her parents' home for the birth, and on her way, in the beautiful spring sunshine, she took a rest in the Lumbini Garden.
All about her were Ashoka blossoms. In delight she reached her right arm out to pluck a branch and as she did so a prince was born. All expressed their heart-felt delight with the glory of the Queen and her princely child; Heaven and Earth rejoiced. This memorable day was the eighth day of April.
The joy of the king was extreme and he named the child Siddhartha, which means "Every wish fulfilled." - The Teaching of Buddha, pp 2-3.
Namo Amida Butsu