Communities across London mark Buddha's birthday

This celebration is considered very important to the Buddhist community. Credit: DarshanaPhotoArt/KSDL

Lydia Polzer from Kagyu Samye Dzong London explains the importance of Buddha's birthday to the Tibetan community and how it will be celebrated.

This day marks the birth of Prince Siddharta Gautama in Lumbini, present-day Nepal around 500BC.

After he reached enlightenment he became known as Buddha Gautama, Buddha Shakyamuni or just the Buddha.

He began teaching methods that would allow others to reach enlightenment, too, and thereby be freed from all suffering.

It is his teachings that became the foundation of all Buddhist traditions and practices. This is why this day is considered very important to the Buddhist community.

It falls on the seventh day of Saga Dawa, the fourth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar. Saga Dawa is the holiest time of the year for Tibetans.

During this time the effects of all activity, good or bad, are considered to be much stronger than at other times of the year.

Tibetan Buddhists make positive actions during the this time. Credit: DarshanaPhotoArt/KSDL

So it is very common for Tibetan Buddhists to make offerings, give alms, go on pilgrimage, chant prayers, circumambulate holy shrines, buy and free animals destined for slaughter and do prostrations to reap he strong positive result of these beneficial activities.

Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre will be celebrating today in London.