Among followers of the Mahayana, the Great Way school of Buddhism, of which the Zen schools are a part, the Buddha’s birth is traditionally celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The Japanese adopted April 8th in the Gregorian calendar in 1873 as a good enough alternative, and this date, today, has become the day most convert Buddhists in the West pause to note the birth of the great physician.
Among scholars there is no serious doubt about the historicity of Gautama Siddhartha, whom we know as the Buddha, the Awakened One. But there is considerable debate about the details. The traditions that contain his teachings and biographical details were not put to paper until it appears, some four hundred years after he died. Maybe a little sooner. Possibly a fair bit later. Compare the life of Jesus which started being recorded some thirty years after his death, with the last official text, the Gospel of John maybe ninety years from the master of the Christian tradition’s death, and the controversies about the details of his life. So much more for the Buddha.
Of course, the details are less important, as the turning is not about his person, but his teachings..
And, Spring is a good time to celebrate those who bring healing to the world.
And few were as important in that regard as the Buddha.
So, a tip of the hat and a sweet tea offering of gratitude…