Saturday, May 21, 2011

First BIG BUDDHA DAY Launched in Dublin!

What a beautifully auspicious, first-ever Big Buddha Day Dublin!

The invitation was to gather and sit together in meditation for one hour by the Bandstand in Dublin's St Stephen's Green.
At 630pm there was just a handful of meditators. Although we didn't know eachother from Adam, we had individually found our way to this place and time so we smiled greetings to one another as we entered meditation quite effortlessly.

Soon - in ones and twos - other figures walked mindfully across the park towards us and gradually we were joined by more and more people. 
There was something very special, very simple, and very authentic in the air. Having come to a damp Dublin park, prepared either to bake or to drown in Ireland's infamous May of Many Weathers, the heavy clouds parted right on cue and the warm sun shone through the gaps.
For sixty minutes of pure and simple joy that seemed to drift by more like sixty seconds, we sat together, the late evening sun's rays casting long shadows across the grass - the trees, benches, bandstand, sitters.

It had been a strange day in Dublin. Queen Elizabeth was setting foot on Irish soil for the very first time. Security, at a cost of 30 million euro plus, was at fever pitch. Already 3 bombs had been discovered.

Death threats abounded and there were riots brewing on O'Connell Street.

We had been informed during the day that Stephen's Green would probably be shut and - judging by the pictures on live 
TV - it appeared the city centre was a ghost town with roads closed and ordinary Dubliners being corralled and herded away from most key areas of town.
I just couldn't believe my eyes when i managed to get into town - almost late myself - only to find roads had opened and the Green hadn't closed afterall.

Within minutes we were gathering and sitting: Body Still, Speech Silent, Mind at Rest.

And, as our numbers increased, it was fascinating to observe the reaction [both within myself and among the people passing through the park].

I became conscious that meditating in a public place, being observed by others, is actually a bit like 'coming out of the closet'... something very private becoming very public.

There was a kind of pride at work among us; a carefree dignity.

People seemed to stare in disbelief, but still we sat. School girls dared each other to go between us and yell but we were not bothered by them at all. Japanese tourists took photos. Nearby Spanish picnic-ers took turns joining us, arms outstretched, rejoicing in the sun's warmth. Park rangers - and then a police car - came by just to check we weren't some kind of protest. Ordinary passers by appeared to be somehow elevated merely by seeing us all simply sitting there.

Birds called out to each other. Churchbells rang. And the wind rustled every leaf for miles as the sun finally dropped down behind a tall tree in the far west.

It was 730pm and the meditators were starting to stir and move off home. One or two people who knew eachother already chatted briefly. Others smiled and wished eachother a Happy Big Buddha Day, saying See you next year before walking mindfully away.

Thank you to all those who supported us and especially to those who gathered to sit.

Very much looking forward to sitting together again next year, by the bandstand, in The Green... 630pm - 730.

Next year's BIG BUDDHA DAY will be Saturday May 5th 2012.

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