More than any other image, the Baby Buddha is the symbol that defines Lumbini. Yet, it seems that surprisingly little has been written or said about the meaning and deeper significance of the Baby Buddha. While we are familiar with the story of the Buddha’s miraculous birth, how the major aspects of the story (Maya Devi’s dream, Siddhartha’s birth, Seven Steps and his enigmatic proclamation) relate to core Buddhist tenets, whether Theravada or Mahayana, has not often been discussed.
In this Buddha Jayanti talk, Ven. Metteyya will reflect upon the doctrinal, ritual as well as practical significance of the Baby Buddha, and attempt to shed light on how the Baby Buddha – as well as the stories of the Buddha’s boyhood – can speak to us in our daily lives.
Venerable Metteyya Sakyaputta is a much loved Buddhist teacher both in Nepal and in the West, and has been the Vice-Chairman of the Lumbini Development Trust since 2017. A recurring theme of his life work has been compassion that is realised through social action: at age 15, Ven. Metteyya built the Metta Gurukul School with the help of friends to serve underprivileged rural children, calling it ‘A Seed of Compassion.’ Since then, he has co-founded a branch Metta school (Punnihawa School), the Karuna Girls College and Women’s Institute, the Peace Grove Institute nunnery, as well as the Lumbini Social Service Foundation (LSSF). A strong advocate for women’s education, equality and excellence in Nepal, Ven Metteyya also works extensively on environment management and education and is passionate about protecting the endangered sarus cranes in Lumbini.
Though his formal training is in Theravada Buddhist tradition and Vipassana, Ven. Metteyya takes an ecumenical approach to Buddhism – he has received teachings directly from the late Chogye Trichen Rinpoche and other Tibetan Buddhist masters, and has also studied with the Vietnamese Pure Land tradition. These experiences have afforded Ven. Metteyya a thorough comparative, theoretical and practical understanding of the various Buddhist traditions.