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Free events at Durham University’s Oriental Museum to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday

Durham University’s Oriental Museum will celebrate Buddha’s Birthday with a host of free, family-friendly events on Saturday 27 May.

Buddha’s Birthday, also known as Vesak, is celebrated around the world and commemorates the birth of Buddha in around 563 BCE.

Born a prince, Buddha went on to renounce his privileged royal life and become a holy man, ultimately reaching Enlightenment.

To celebrate his birthday, the Oriental Museum will be decorated in spectacular style with paper cranes and white lanterns.

There will be an array of activities suitable for the whole family from noon to 4pm including an artist-led lantern making workshop for children, a gallery trail and a retelling of the story of Buddha’s life.

Buddhist practitioners will also offer a guided meditation and a talk on Buddhism.

Meanwhile, museum visitors will have the opportunity to pour flower-scented water over a statue of the infant Buddha, symbolising the cleansing of body, speech and thoughts.

Robert Bluck, a Zen Buddhist practitioner collaborating on the event, said “Meditation and chanting are both important in Buddhist practice.

“I will lead a simple meditation session on the day, which people are very welcome to join.

“I will also chant the Buddha’s words on loving-kindness, wishing all beings well.”

Charlotte Spink, a learning coordinator based at the Oriental Museum said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to this family-friendly event.

“Collaborating with the local Buddhist community and student volunteers has really helped us to create a programme with something for everyone.”

There is no need to book for any of the activities, just drop in anytime between noon and 4pm, and events are free of charge.


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