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The Buddhist Phi Ta Khon Festival

The Buddhist festivals are the festivals with special connotations developed with the development of the Buddhism, which had been taken down into the Buddhist scriptures. It can be seen by readers who want to learn Chinese in China that during the Buddhist festivals, there are several Buddhist activities containing special religious connotations being carried out, so as to demonstrate the adherents’ inheritance of the beliefs and their respect and remembrances of the Buda.

With the development of the sinicization of the Buddhism, the Buddhism and the Buddhists’ ideology and customs had also acted their influences upon the Chinese society, becoming essential components of the daily lives of Chinese adherents, the traditional Buddhist festivals are best examples to be used in demonstrating for those who’ve had been thinking about taking a tour to study Chinese in China.

The Phi Ta Khon Festival is a Buddhist festival occasion commemorating the birthday of the Buddha Sakyamuni, and it has also acquired other names, such as Yufo festival, guanfo festival, etc, due to the carrying out of the baptism activities of the Buddha as the major event during the day. To study Mandarin in China well, the Buddhist festivals is an indispensible part for the understanding of the Chinese mentality.

And readers who take interest in coming to learn Chinese in China must be quite interested about the exact date for the holding of the Phi Ta Khon Festival, there exist several versions, the Mahayana usually regarded the day to be April 8th, as well as Feb 8th; Sep 8th, while the Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism settled their day for the celebration of the Phi Ta Khon Festival on the Apr15th.

According to the Buddhist scriptures, the Buddha’s mother Madam Moye gave birth to the Buddha from her right rib under the saraca asoca , and it is amazing for friends who’d like to study Chinese in China that when the prince was born, it pointed at the heaven with his right hand, and the earth with his left hand, declaring that I am destined to rule the heavenly world and the earthly world.

The four heavenly kings wrapped the prince with silk cloth, the Magmatron and Brahma was guarding him by his both sides, the two dragon king Nanda and Upananda were disgorging clear water up from the sky to baptize the prince, this can be regarded to be the origin of the Phi Ta Khon Festival by readers who’d love to study Mandarin in China.

Thereafter, it can be seen by readers who’d like to learn Chinese in China that during the occasions of the Phi Ta Khon Festival, the holding temple or the adherents would set a tub in the temple hall or in the open air, and arrange a statue of Buddha who is pointing at the heaven with his right finger and the earth with his right finger, which were used to symbolizing the birth of the Buddha.

Then readers who’d love to study Chinese in China may be quite interested about the process of the baptizing, well, during the day, Buddhist adherents would prepare flower-perfumed crystal water for baptizing, and various types of fragrant flowers, fragrant paraffin and fruits for worshipping.

Aside from the baptizing, the exhibition of the Buddha images is also an indispensible part, which can be taken as a major event held on the Phi Ta Khon Festival by those who’d love to study Mandarin in China, the exhibition of the Buddha images is usually carried out through placing the sculpture of the Buddha on a splendid chariot for exhibition around the city, so as to be viewed and admired by the public.

Those who are interested in Chinese culture and wants to learn Chinese in China may wonder about the origin of the exhibition of Buddha images, well, according the historical records taken down in the Sketches of the Buddhist Monks of the Song Dynasty, the emperors and the ruling classes were eager to witness the real images of the Buddhism, thus commanded to create the sculptures of Buddha for exhibition.

There is another important event held on the Phi Ta Khon Festival—the freeing of captive animals, which is well-known by the Buddhists who’d love to study Chinese in China, it is still a quite popular procedure held in many regions in China today. It should be understand by those who’d like to study Mandarin in China that the Phi Ta Khon Festival was quite influential among the people, especially decades ago, which was such a grand ceremony that numerous popular shows were on display.

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