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Durham University

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Celebrate Buddha’s Birthday at the Oriental Museum

(3 May 2019)

Tea tasting

Everyone is invited to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday at our Oriental Museum on Saturday 18 May.

What is there to see and do?

The Museum will be decorated in spectacular style with paper cranes and white lanterns and there will be activities suitable for all ages.

Visitors will be able to try yoga, guided meditation, tea tasting, relaxing arts and crafts, and Buddha Bathing: pouring flower-scented water over a statue of Buddha, symbolising the cleansing of body, speech and thoughts. There will also be a gallery trail for children.

A community celebration

Our students, and members of the Buddhist community, are helping to organise the celebrations.

Jamie, a Buddhist practitioner from the Atisha Kadampa Meditation Centre in Darlington, will be leading the guided meditation.

He said: “Meditation and mindfulness are central to Buddhism and in today’s hectic world, there is so much we can learn from Buddha’s teachings. I’m really looking forward to meeting Museum visitors and introducing them to the basics of meditation.”

Charlotte Spink, the Museum’s Access and Community Engagement Officer, said: “The Buddha’s Birthday event is a great opportunity for the community to build interfaith understanding and dialogue. Buddhism is a thread which runs throughout the Oriental Museum and celebrating Buddha’s Birthday unites many people around the world. We’re really looking forward to the event.”

About Buddha’s Birthday

Born a prince in around 653 BC, Buddha renounced his privileged life and, in the view of his followers, ultimately reached Enlightenment.

His birthday, also known as Vesak, is now celebrated by different schools of Buddhism across April and May.

The statue of the infant Buddha that will be used for Buddha Bathing at the Oriental Museum celebrations was donated by Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order in Taiwan and, in recognition of the gift, the celebrations are timed to coincide with those in Taiwan.

How do I get involved?

The Buddha’s Birthday celebrations will take place at the Oriental Museum on Saturday 18 May from 12pm to 4pm. There is no need to book.

Normal Museum admission charges apply and the event is suitable for all ages.

Tell me more…

The Oriental Museum is the only museum in the north of the UK dedicated to the art and archaeology of the Orient. The collections include the cultures of China, Japan, Korea, India, the Near and Middle East and Africa. Find out more here.