What is Vesak?
Vesak day is the most important day for Buddhists all around the world. It is the day that commemorates the birth, the enlightenment, and the passing of Lord Buddha. Widely celebrated in many parts of Asia, Vesak day is an official public holiday for Buddhists to celebrate as a festival. Vesak falls on the first full moon in the month of May, every single year.
On this day, I will go to the temple with my family to pay our respects to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha (Triple Gem). The temple will be beautifully decorated with bright cloths, lights and lanterns. Once there, we will offer candles, incense and flowers as gifts to Lord Buddha to show our respects and gratitude for his teachings.
After that my family and I will queue to bathe the ‘Little Buddha’ with flower petals decorated water. This “bathing the Buddha” ceremony serves to remind us to purify our minds from greed and hatred. Following the bathing ceremony, we will queue to be blessed by monks. It is a tradition that after each blessing session, the Buddhist monks will present each devotee with a yellow “blessed” string as a gift. This yellow string will be put on our wrists to remind us about Triple Gem.
The monks will also provide Dhamma talks to related to Vesak in the temple surroundings. Later in the evening, grand float processions will be held in major streets in some cities. People from all walks of life and religions will gather to watch the beautiful float processions.
Read on to hear conversations between D-kidz Dhamma Class teacher and its students when they discuss about Vesak celebration.
Teacher Sue Ann: Children, can anyone tell me what Vesak day is?
Children: It is a public holiday. Yay!
Gina: Not just a public holiday. Vesak day is celebrated in a big way by Buddhist all over the world because it marks the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha.
Teacher Sue Ann: Good answer, Gina.
Metta: What do Buddhists do on Vesak day?
Teacher Sue Ann: Buddhists gather at temples early in the morning to do chanting, listening to the Dhamma talks and make offerings to the Triple Gem. A day spend on the reflection of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha create a deep awareness to do good and avoid evil and purify one’s mind. And we must try to live our lives guided by this awareness.
Metta: Teacher Daniel, how do we celebrate Vesak here in D-kidz Dhamma class?
Teacher Daniel: On Vesak Day we teach children to appreciate the wonderful life and teaching of the Buddha.
Metta: Vesak sounds like a serious occasion. Can we have fun too?
Teacher Daniel: Children love to have fun and it is perfectly alright to have fun in Dhamma Class. What is important is that you learn something positive here. It is not always easy practice the Dhamma. You must keep improving ourselves to learn new things and better ways to do things and drop bad habits. This way you will grow to understand more and more and make the practice easier for ourselves.
Teacher Sue Ann: On Vesak day we will have a party to celebrate Siddhartha’s birthday, his Enligtenment and total freedom from all problems. It is a joyous occasion. Buddha has shown us that it is possible to be liberated by his own Enlightenment.
Metta: That is so awesome. Can I come to the party?
Teacher Gina: Of course, all are welcome. Bring along a friend with you too.
The above conversation is part of the Come and See 2. This album is created based on a fiction story of Metta and her parents going to the temple. These tracks describe how Metta spends her Sunday morning at D-kidz Dhamma School.
Metta learns about the meaning of offerings to the Triple Gem and how one should be grateful of those who prepare food and mindful for not wasting food. She also celebrates birthday with her Dhamma Class friend – Gina. Her day ends with short discussion and dedication with her parents.
The story above was conversation extracted from Come and See 2 album.
2. Sunshine of my Life
4. To the Temple we go
8. Dhamma Is
10. Food Reflection
12. Birthday Wish
14. Happy Vesak
16. Nite Nite Triple Gem
*odd tracks are story telling
17-24. Sing along