Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Significance Of Vesak (Part 1 of 3)

Come Monday 19 May, Buddhists celebrate Vesak Day (or Budhha Day). The thrice blessed day when the Buddha was born, gained enlightenment, and passed into Nibbana. This is also the day where you see many "Buddhists" proclaim themselves to be so, by visiting the various temples. After that they revert to their old selves again without learning anything about the pristine teachings of the Buddha. We don't have to blame anyone for this sad state of affairs. To-day I shall share a little information on the significance of Vesak. For the next 2 days we shall share the joy of this auspicious day by further discussing its significance.

This is extracted from Ven Mahinda's message from here:

[The significance of Vesak lies with the Buddha and his universal peace message to mankind.

As we recall the Buddha and his Enlightenment, we are immediately reminded of the unique and most profound knowledge and insight which arose in him on the night of his Enlightenment. This coincided with three important events which took place, corresponding to the three watches or periods of the night.

During the first watch of the night, when his mind was calm, clear and purified, light arose in him, knowledge and insight arose. He saw his previous lives, at first one, then two, three up to five, then multiples of them .. . ten, twenty, thirty to fifty. Then 100, 1000 and so on.... As he went on with his practice, during the second watch of the night, he saw how beings die and are reborn, depending on their Karma, how they disappear and reappear from one form to another, from one plane of existence to another. Then during the final watch of the night, he saw the arising and cessation of all phenomena, mental and physical. He saw how things arose dependent on causes and conditions. This led him to perceive the arising and cessation of suffering and all forms of unsatisfactoriness paving the way for the eradication of all taints of cravings. With the complete cessation of craving, his mind was completely liberated. He attained to Full Enlightenment. The realisation dawned in him together with all psychic powers.

This wisdom and light that flashed and radiated under the historic Bodhi Tree at Buddha Gaya in the district of Bihar in Northern India, more than 2500 years ago, is of great significance to human destiny. It illuminated the way by which mankind could cross, from a world of superstition, or hatred and fear, to a new world of light, of true love and happiness.]

I shall continue to-morrow.

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