Wesak - one of the most important days in the Buddhist calendar! May 05 2023
Wesak, also known as Vesak, is one of the most important days in the Buddhist calendar and is celebrated by millions of Buddhists worldwide. Wesak commemorates Gautama Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death as the founder of Buddhism. Wesak's origins can be traced back to ancient India, where Gautama Buddha was born and spent most of his life. The event recalls the day Buddha attained Nirvana, or enlightenment, under the Bodhi tree. According to Buddhist scriptures, Buddha attained enlightenment after several years of meditation and self-reflection. Depending on the lunar calendar, it is celebrated on the full moon day of May or June.
Wesak is celebrated in many ways, depending on the country and region. Buddhists decorate their homes and streets in Sri Lanka with colorful lanterns and lotus flowers to commemorate the event. In Thailand, the festival is known as Visakha Bucha Day. Buddhists lead a procession of beautifully decorated elephants to visit temples making offerings to the Buddha and meditating. In some countries, such as Nepal and India, Wesak is celebrated by performing acts of charity and kindness, such as feeding people experiencing poverty and homelessness.
One of Wesak's most popular folk stories is the tale of the young boy Sudhana, who is on a quest to find the ultimate truth. The story goes that Sudhana met fifty-three spiritual teachers on his journey, each teaching him something new about the nature of reality. In the end, Sudhana met the Bodhisattva Maitreya, who helped him achieve enlightenment.
Serving as a reminder of the Buddhist tradition's Wesak is a time for introspection, meditation, and acts of compassion.
On Sudhana’s journey to find the truth, the story tells of his travels across the land and eventually, arrived at the foot of a great mountain, where he saw a shining city in the distance. He approached the town and found a gatekeeper who asked why he had come. Sudhana explained that he was on a quest to find the ultimate truth and was seeking a teacher who could help him achieve enlightenment.
After meeting with the fifty-third teacher, Sudhana finally arrived at the temple of the Bodhisattva Maitreya. Maitreya was known as the Buddha of the future, known to embody the qualities of compassion, wisdom, and insight.
The tale of Sudhana is a powerful reminder of the importance of seeking the truth and the value of spiritual practice. It teaches us that we can learn from everyone we meet and that the path to enlightenment is constant learning and growth. Sudhana's journey is a timeless tale that continues to inspire and uplift Buddhists worldwide.