Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Significance Of Vesak (Part 2 of 3)

To-day is Vesak-eve. Vesak Day always falls on the first full moon day in the month of May. Vesakha is the name of the month corresponding to May. It was decided in 1950 at the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) held in Sri Lanka, that this day be celebrated as Vesak Day.

To know more you can click here:

To-morrow is Vesak Day. Let us see how we should celebrate this day. Actually I personally prefer to use the word "observe", rather than "celebrate". My revered teacher the late Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda of the Brickfields Mahavihara (Temple) wrote:
"On Wesak day, devout Buddhists are expected to assemble in various temples before dawn for the ceremonial hoisting of the Buddhist Flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the holy triple gem: The Buddha, The Dhamma (His teachings), and The Sangha (His disciples).
Devotees may bring simple offerings of flowers, candles and joss-sticks to lay at the feet of their great teacher. These symbolic offerings are to remind us that just as the beautiful flowers would wither away after a short while and the candles and joss-sticks would soon burn out, life is subject to decay and destruction in similar manner as the flowers, candles and joss-sticks. Devotees are enjoined to make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind. They are encouraged to partake of vegetarian food for the day. In some countries notably SRI LANKA, two days are set aside for the celebration of Wesak and all liquor shops and slaughter houses are closed by government decree during the two days. Birds and animals are also released by the thousands in a symbolic act to liberation, of giving freedom to those who are in captivity. However, it is not recommended that birds be released in the heart of crowded cities, because by doing so we may cause harm to the poor bewildered birds which are unable to fly far after a long period of captivity. Unscrupulous bird dealers would recapture such birds for resale to well meaning devotees. If birds are to be released it is recommended that this be done in rural areas where the birds can achieve real freedom. Some devout Buddhists will wear simple white dress and spend the whole day in temples with renewed determination to observe the observance of the Eight Precepts."

The full text can be found here:

Have a joyful holiday!


Shravasti Dhammika said...

Dear Jusitne
I really liked your Vesak thoughts - genuine, thoughtful and kindly. Please have a look at mine at

Justin Choo said...


(I have yet to figure out how to post reply. So now as a stop gap measure, I am using another "comment" as my reply to you)

It must be the ripening of my good kamma that I am honored to have Bante in my Blog. There was one day in the Mahindarama Library that I also had the honour to ask you about how to identify the sutta reference in the Tipitakka although at that time still ignorant of your reputation. I was most impressed after listening to your talk at that time. I was also very impressed that you always recite the first two stanza of the Dhammapada after each talk, although a lot of listeners were unaware of what you were reciting. I will surely read your Blog everyday from now. The last time I heard was that you were in Sri Lanka. Are you now over there or in Singapore?

Your “Broken Buddha” was a gem. And your “Good questions, good answers” is first class. I quite often use your analogy of Faraday to answer the question that the Buddha was no longer here. I have also read and counter checked the Bible quotations in “Beyond Belief” by De Silva (???).

Shravasti Dhammika said...

dear justin, contact me at

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