Sunday, May 13, 2018

5 Things to Know about Vesak Day

Dinah Amira Nordin (; Ananda M., Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
vesak day singapore
Vesak observes three important events in the Buddha's life: birth, enlightenment, nirvana
vesak day singapore

How much do you really understand about Vesak Day ["Buddhist Xmas"]?

Here are some facts that many may not know about this massive annual Buddhist celebration.

A day of joy, peace, and reflection, Vesak is observed by Buddhists around the world.

However, it is traditionally celebrated by Buddhists in Singapore, India, Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Bangladesh, and other Southeast Asian countries.
Here are five things about Vesak Day you probably don’t know:
Inner peace and reflection are important components of Vesak Day celebrations

1. Vesak is the most significant day in the Buddhist calendar
Vesak day is the most important date in the Buddhist lunar calendar. It celebrates three major events in the life of the Buddha: his birth, his attainment of Enlightenment, and his passing into Nirvana. According to Buddhist scriptures, each of these occurred on a full moon in the lunar month of Vesak. 

2. Doing good deeds is an essential part of the celebrations
On Vesak Day, Buddhists reaffirm their commitment to living a moral and compassionate lifestyle; many of them believe that performing good deeds on this particular day will multiply merit many times over.

On this day, vegetarian meals are consumed and caged birds and other animals are released as a symbolic gesture of compassion. Showing kindness to those less fortunate than yourselves through acts of sharing food, blood donations, etc. are also part of the celebration. Good deeds like these, whether by individuals or temples, are known as "Dana."
vesak day singapore
Many Buddhists head to the temple to join others in a day of chanting and meditating.
3. Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists celebrate Vesak Day differently
The majority of Chinese Buddhists in Singapore are Mahayana Buddhists.

Mahayana temples, such as Phor Kark See Temple on Bright Hill Road, practice the "three-step, one-bow" ritual on Vesak Day, where devotees take three steps on both knees, bowing at every third step as they pray for world peace, personal blessings, and repentance.
Theravada Buddhists, mainly comprised of Singapore's Burmese, Thai and Sri Lankan communities, rejoice at the Burmese Buddhist Temple at Geylang and the Sri Lankaramaya Temple on St. Michael's Road, respectively. Vesak celebrations include the ritual of preparing a pot of rich rice in coconut milk, reminiscent of the Buddha's last meal before his great enlightenment.
vesak day singapore
Often there are processions and celebrations to mark Vesak Day

4. Anyone can join the celebrations
You don't have to be a Buddhist to celebrate Vesak. Head towards Singapore's oldest Buddhist temple on Lian Shan Shuang Lin or the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in the heart of Chinatown to observe the day.

5. Vesak Day in Singapore was only made an official public holiday in 1955
After World War II, the Singapore Buddhist Association led the petition to make Vesak Day an official public holiday.

Subsequently, this significant day for Buddhists was made an official public holiday in Singapore in 1955. Since Vesak is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, the date on which it is celebrated changes from year to year, usually falling in the month of May or early June.

Dharma Meditation Initiative is celebrating all month, including May 13, 2018

No comments: