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  • Thong Tri Temple

Buddha’s Birthday (Vesak Day)

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

April 26, 2023 | Love {Sneha} | Compassion {Karuṇā}



Millions of Buddhists worldwide commemorate Vesak Day as a celebration of the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. We also reflect on the Enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha at the age of 35 when he became the Buddha, and his death (Parinirvāna) into Nirvana at the age of 80.


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Vesak Day (Wesak or Buddha’s Birthday) is celebrated once a year. The date of Vesak changes every year as it follows the lunar calendar. Vesak occurs on April 8 of the lunar calendar, the full-moon day of the lunar month of April, which usually falls in May or early June of our Western calendar. This year, in 2023, Vesak Day is May 26, 2023. Celebrations occur on any day in the month of May/June 2023 in our Western calendar.


When visiting a Buddhist temple, a statue representing the baby Buddha will be displayed in front of the altar in a basin filled with flowers and water. When we bathe the statue by pouring water on the baby Buddha's shoulders, we will recite the Verse of Bathing the Buddha in praise of the Buddha’s merits and virtues. Buddhists as well as non-Buddhists are welcome to participate in this important ritual that involves kneeling or standing in front of the baby Buddha with sincerity and pouring water over the statue’s shoulders three times (not on top of the statue’s head). Bathing the baby Buddha statue reminds us to purify the Three Karmas: body, speech and mind. When we see the pure and innocent baby Buddha, our minds will immediately return to its original, genuine state. We reflect on where we came from before we entered this world and restore our pure and undefiled Buddha nature.


This special celebration is an opportunity for us to reflect on and practice the teachings of the Buddha. Are we following the Buddha's Teachings? How much do we know about the Buddha's virtues and teachings? Are we applying the principles we have learned to help ourselves as well as others?


May you all be free from suffering and all the causes of suffering!


Namo Shakyamuni Buddha.



References:


Chơn Lý,” Tác Giả Đức Tổ Sư Minh Đăng Quang (Language in Vietnamese)


Phật Học Phổ Thông,” Tác Giả Hòa Thượng Thích Thiện Hoa (Language in Vietnamese)


The Seeker’s Glossary of BUDDHISM,” Edited by the Van Hien-Study Group, Sutra Translation Committee of the United States & Canada


A Simple Path – Basic Buddhist Teachings,” by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama


The Buddha and His Teachings,” by Venerable Narada Mahathera (Sri Lanka 1970), Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.


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