Special Events and Celebrations

Celebration of the Buddha's Birthday and Enlightenment

Around a thousand people attend Phat-An for the celebration of Buddha’s birth. Here, practitioners line up to bathe a statue of Buddha in water as a sign of respect.  

Though the Sunday Dharma talk is the main weekly event at Phat-An, the Temple holds additional prayer and meditation sessions throughout the month. Every Saturday morning, the monk leads a two-hour meditation session, with a longer practice on the second Saturday of the month. On the first Saturday, the Temple also holds an all-day sutra recitation from 9:30 am to 5 pm, after the meditation session has ended.

In addition, Phat-An leads twice-monthly Karma purification sessions on the evenings of the new and full moon. Temple attendee Quy explained that, at these sessions, people bow 108 times to Buddha and privately ask for forgiveness for the bad deeds they have committed in this life and lives past. “I don’t know what bad karma, bad deeds I did in the past life,” said Quy. “What is important is a promise from now on you never have any bad act.” Quy said that these sessions are very important for those who worship Buddha, and serve as a kind of purification.

Finally, every third weekend of the month, the monk leads a group of 30 to 60 practitioners in a 24-hour Prohibitory Commandments Session from 7 pm on Friday to 7 pm on Saturday. During this time, lay people pray, meditate, and lead the life of a Buddhist master for one day.

“I don’t know what bad karma, bad deeds I did in the past life...What is important is a promise from now on you never have any bad act."-Quy Dang

The Temple also organizes events not explicitly tied to Buddhist practice. It offers Vietnamese language classes for some 200 youth every Sunday from September through June. In addition, Phat-An holds celebrations that are not directly linked to Buddhism, such as its Summer Festival. Held in the parking lot, the event includes music, dragon dances, and plenty of food. Finally, Phat-An provides wedding services when requested. Though weddings traditionally occur at the home of the bride, the practice of temple weddings has grown in prominence in both the United States and Vietnam.