Taipei, May 13 (CNA) Buddhists and politicians around Taiwan gathered Sunday to celebrate Mother's Day and the birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha.
During the "bathing Buddha" ritual, participants expressed their reverence toward Buddha by bowing and dipping their fingers in water as if to touch the Buddha's feet, receiving a flower and then holding their palms together.
Thousands of flower buds were scattered around the main hall and staircases of Tzu Chi Foundation headquarters in Hualien, as chanting foundation workers and volunteers slowly walked up the stairs at the ritual.
The foundation, Taiwan's largest charity organization, hoped that people of different religions could feel the captivating power of the solemn ceremony and experience a spiritual cleansing effect.
This year, an estimated 130,000 participants paid tribute to Buddha, their parents and all living things at similar events held all around Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Master Hsing Yun, founder of the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, led participants in performing another "bathing Buddha" ritual on Ketagalan Boulevard, where he held a wooden ladle and poured water over a small statue of Buddha.
President Ma Ying-jeou, Vice President-elect Wu Den-yih, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, and former Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung attended the ceremony.
(By Hsu Chih-wei, Andrew Liu, Huang Kuo-fang, and Hanna Liu)