Friday, May 21, 2010

Addressing on Vesak Day Celebration 2554

­­­Vesak Day: three important events, three important meanings of life

Vesak Puja Day which falls in the month of May is the most sacred and auspicious day for Buddhists worldwide. This day has been celebrated to remember and to worship Lord Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Passing Away. Sakyamuni Buddha is the founder of Buddhism, one of the largest religions in the world. He is recognized by all Buddhists as the Enlightened One, Awaken One or the Teacher of Gods and Men. Vesak has also been recognized by the United Nations as the most Sacred Day on December 15th, 1999 and passed resolution to recognize that day as Global Holiday. Everyone working for the UNs get one day off to honour this day.

What is the Meaning of Vesak?
Vesak is a Sanskrit language or Visakha (in Pali language) means the sixth month of lunar calendar. Sakyamuni Buddha’s birthday, enlightenment and passing away simultaneously fell in this day (the full moon of Vesak or around May 13). But this year, the full moon of Vesak falls in April 28th. However, Buddhists worldwide celebrate the 2554 Anniversary of Lord Buddha's birthday in May.

Why are the three events special?
Lord Buddha was born in the full moon of Vesak, 624 before Christ. In the scripture (Tri Pittaka) describes that "Lord Buddha was born on Friday, full moon of Vesak, the year of dog in Lumbini Park (or it was probably in May 13, 624 B.C.)"

When he was 29, he renounced luxurious living in the palace to seek Enlightenment. He practiced ancient methods of Hinduism of self-denial (Dukkharakiriya) for six years until his skin emaciated and blood dried out, but he couldn't attain Enlightenment. After that He grasped that His experiences in the past of living in palace is the indulgence in sensual pleasure (materialism); and current six years of self-mortification is the indulgence in self-punishment (asceticism). These two ways are extreme, priceless and waste of time. Finally, Lord Buddha changed to practice middle path (Majjhimakka Padipadha) which is the way leading to the cessation of sufferings. Then, He attained Enlightenment at the age of 35 under the Bodhi Tree of Buddhigaya city. It was on Wednesday, full moon of Vesak, the year of Rooster (or it was probably on May 13, 589 B.C.). And he also started His journey from places to places tirelessly to preach the Dhamma lasted 45 years.

Lord Buddha reached Enlightenment (Parinibbana) at the age of 80 in Kusinara district. It was on Tuesday, full moon of Vesak, the year of Snake (or it was probably on May 13, 544 B.C.).

These three events are important stages of life for the Buddha and it is universally reflective to everyone whose lives are evolved in birth, growing up as adult and passing away eventually. The Buddha began with his genius babyhood as the good dependency from his previously accumulation of merits/goodness at the uncountable births of life; He has grown up as the most intelligent adult who could attain the Enlightenment; and He passed away with legacy of His accomplishments.

Three Events Reflects Three Role Models for All of Us
Spontaneously, the law of Kamma has distinguishes us different from each other. When we have done good things, our present life as well as our rebirth is good. When we have done bad things, our present life as well as our rebirth is bad. We are the heritors of our own action. We have shared the same development as Lord Buddha. We were born as a baby, grew up as adult and will pass away eventually. But the differences are on how we chapter our life.

This is very important how we can reshape ourselves in the Vesak Day. We hope to be reborn as a smart baby, a successful adult, and ended our life peacefully with pride of legacy remaining within this world.

We can all reach this ideal if we endeavour to cultivate all good, avoid evil and purify our mind. We should be mindful of Buddha’s final advice: "all compound things are constantly changing and decaying, so strive on diligently to achieve individual goal."

Buddha Day
Apart from Vesak Day, there are Magha Day (in February) recognized as the Dhamma Day, and Asalaha Day (in July) recognized as the Sangha Day. All who take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha are known as Buddhists. Buddhists worship these three Triple Gems on regular basis with mindful meditation and chanting.

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