Clown Ritual @Buddha’s Birthday 2011 Celebration at Zen Center Los Angeles

by | Apr 20, 2011 | Public Workshop Actions

This was the 6th year of clowns conspiring to celebrate the Buddha’s Birthday at the Zen Center following the traditional ritual of offering flowers and pouring sweet tea over Baby Buddha. Many things in the past have happened including kitchen bowls of water being poured over my head as I played baby Buddha (the first year). It’s
quite an experience to open your eyes full of light as freezing cold water is poured over you, try it sometime….

A two day workshop to create and perform.  This year, looking for inspiration in a Friday evening improvisational session, I spotted a wonderful classic watering can,  then I eyed the long green hose with the super high tech sprayer nozzle on top. Great fun testing the different settings and testing how it sprays. Funny where inspiration strikes: I imagined everyone becoming baby Buddhas and running through a fountain of water. Flowers had to be brought into the equation but the essence was there, and a whole story evolved over two days:

We come from another dimension.  We have heard about a great ritual that will grant us immediate illumination. The ancestral watering can will lead us to the sacred spot. One has to plant flowers in the sacred space and then, we have heard, there is something about water, but not to worry, the watering can knows all. (all photos by Jonathan Levy and Dharma Joy)


The watering can leads us into this amazing lawn underneath towering redwoods, right in the middle of urbanity. We weave around until it stops suddenly, and points down. There on the lawn it must be the spot!  I signal for the planting ceremony.

unfortunately it doesn’t work out as planned

When the clowns don’t feel illuminated, they start to question their leader…

but the watering can starts vibrating with the answer: that wasn’t the spot, follow me !

The watering can leads to a second spot, which again despite high and mighty ritual fails to offer any illumination, and the scene starts to get a little ugly, and the threat of  clown
insurrection starts to grow when the watering can starts vibrating again, leading the clowns in a new direction-only to stop immediately and point to THE SPOT:

Why of course ! What a revelation! And we start moving reverently, ever so slowly this time, towards illumination.

By devine intervention, the clowns realize that they must become baby Buddha’s and the way to do that is to throw flower confetti (oh my, after stealing offered flowers) in the air…

meanwhile the watering can has led YooWho to the sacred garden hose, and informed him of the final secret, the baby Buddhas must all get wet to be illuminated…and so YooWho inspired as he created a sacred waterfall shoutsd: “Enlightenment Guaranteed !”





A few in the audience took advantage of the offer:

And indeed true illumination (perhaps just momentary) was had by all….

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