Baisakhi, as many of us know of it, is a festival to mark the onset of spring and the beginning of the Sikh New Year. However, this festival has a lot more significance to it and is also known as Vesak, a day when Lord Buddha attained Nirvana. Baisakhi is celebrated on April 13th or April 14th which is projected as per the solar calendar. Unlike Baisakhi, Vesak Day varies every year as it is estimated as per the lunar calendar. It is said to be the biggest and the holiest day in Buddhism.
A quick peek into the history
It is said that the three most important events of Buddha’s life happened on the same date during different years though and they are:
And that makes this day an exceptional one with a very powerful full moon during the night. Born as Siddhartha in the present Nepal, married at 16, he could not relate himself to the life he was living and wanted to find the true meaning of life and death. Hence, at 29, he gave away his family and wealth and left to live a bare life. It took him six long years to understand how one can get awakened. The answer was meditation. He sat under a Peepal tree in Bodh Gaya, pledged not to rise until he attained enlightenment. Forty-nine days later, he became Buddha, the enlightened one.
Celebrating the enlightenment
Followers or Devotees are to avoid any kind of killing, liquor and eat vegetarian on this day. Often as a way of celebration, it is seen that the caged birds and animals are set free. Buddhist temples are beautifully decorated with lanterns, bright clothes and lights to witness offerings of divine flowers and fragrant candles. The mood of this auspicious day is always peace and tranquillity. Therefore, you would see various monks providing certain teachings, chanting Buddhist hymns. You would be surprised to know that not all Buddhists worship, the idol of Buddha. Rather, they worship the Dharmachakra, the unique symbol of Vesak. You would find a dharma chakra in all the Buddhist monasteries across the globe. Even if you are not a Buddhist and want to meditate on Vesak, you can do that as it is a highly powerful spiritual day.
The serenity in the rhythm
All over the world, Buddhist devotees, Buddhist monks practice meditations throughout the day. Few powerful ones are Namu Myoho Renge Kyo and Om Mani Padme Hum.Melodious Buddhist music can be heard being played and it is very difficult for one to not reach to a state of meditation by listening to the soothing rhythms. Meditations are done throughout the year by Buddhists; however, on this particular day of Vesak, the cosmic energy is very high and meditating alone or with fellows makes it even more effective not just for yourself but for the environment around you.
It’s a wonderful site at Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India on Vesak day as it is the place where Buddha was enlightened. The Mahabodhi temple is decorated with colorful flags and plenty other decorative items. Sri Lanka and Indonesia are also few of the Asian countries that celebrate this day with full enthusiasm. Sri Lankans decorate their homes with beautiful bamboo framed lanterns and visit Bhauddoloka Mawatha. Indonesia’s Borobudur temple is surrounded by Buddhist monks who meditate and circuit it in a ritual termed as “Pradaksina”.
So, this Vesak, let’s all celebrate Buddha in us.
With that, I quote Buddha “All beings are not only the parents in the past. They will become the Buddha in the future. If you free their lives, you are Buddha.
Follow our Lifestyle and Cultural e-zine BananiVista for more interesting articles.