In the context of sakura (cherry blossoms) blooming in Japan, Hana Matsuri, The Japanese Flower Festival, celebrates the birth of Buddha some 2500 years ago. To commemorate this auspicious day is the following traditional story adapted from Art of Dharma.
It is said that soon after his enlightenment, the Buddha passed a man on the road who was struck by the Buddha’s extraordinary radiance and peaceful presence. The man stopped and asked, “My friend, what are you? Are you a celestial being or a god?”
“No,” said the Buddha.
“Well, then, are you some kind of magician or wizard?”
“Are you a man?”
“Well, my friend, then what are you?”
The Buddha replied, “I am awake.”
(photo of the Buddha at the Art Institute of Chicago at the top of the post by JB)