The Info List - Vesak

--- Advertisement ---

(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

VESāKHA ( Pali ; Sanskrit : VAIśāKHA), also known as BUDDHA PURNIMA and BUDDHA DAY, is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists on different days in India , Sri Lanka , China , Japan
, South Korea , Taiwan , Nepal , Tibet
, Bangladesh , Bhutan , Indonesia , Singapore , Vietnam , Thailand , Cambodia , Laos , Malaysia
and Myanmar and in other places all over the world. Sometimes informally called "Buddha\'s Birthday ", it commemorates the birth, enlightenment ( Buddhahood ), and death (Parinirvāna ) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition.


* 1 History

* 2 Celebration

* 2.1 Bringing happiness to others * 2.2 Paying homage to the Buddha * 2.3 Dates of observance * 2.4 In Japan
* 2.5 In Nepal * 2.6 In Sri Lanka * 2.7 In Korea

* 2.8 In Laos

* 2.8.1 Boun Bang Fay

* 2.9 In Vietnam * 2.10 In Malaysia
* 2.11 In Indonesia * 2.12 In Singapore * 2.13 At the United Nations

* 3 References * 4 External links


Queen Maya holds onto a branch of a tree while giving birth to the Buddha, who is received by Śakra as other gods look on.

The decision to agree to celebrate Wesākha as the Buddha’s birthday was formalized at the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950, although festivals at this time in the Buddhist world are a centuries-old tradition. The resolution that was adopted at the World Conference reads as follows:

That this Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, while recording its appreciation of the gracious act of His Majesty, the Maharaja of Nepal in making the full-moon day of Vesak
a Public Holiday in Nepal , earnestly requests the Heads of Governments of all countries in which large or small number of Buddhists are to be found, to take steps to make the full-moon day in the month of May a Public Holiday in honour of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity.

On Vesākha Day, Buddhists all over the world commemorate events of significance to Buddhists of all traditions: The birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha . As Buddhism spread from India it was assimilated into many foreign cultures, and consequently Vesākha is celebrated in many different ways all over the world. In India, Vaishakh Purnima day is also known as Buddha Jayanti day and has been traditionally accepted as Buddha's birth day.

In 1999, the United Nations resolved to internationally observe the day of Vesak
at its headquarters and offices.

The name of the observance is derived from the Pali term _vesākha_ or Sanskrit _vaiśākha_, which is the name of the lunar month in the Hindu calendar falling in April–May (see Vaisakha ). In Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the holiday is known by its Sanskrit name (Vaiśākha) and derived variants of it. Local renditions of the name vary by language, including:

* Assamese : বুদ্ধ পূর্ণিমা _Buddho Purnima_ * Bengali : বুদ্ধ পূর্ণিমা _Buddho Purnima_, বুদ্ধ জয়ন্তী _Buddho Joyonti_ * Dzongkha : སྟོན་པའི་དུས་ཆེན་༥ འཛོམས་ _Dhüchen Nga Zom_ * Burmese : ကဆုန်လပြည့် ဗုဒ္ဓနေ့ "Full Moon Day of Kason" * Chinese : 佛陀誕辰紀念日; pinyin : _Fótuó dànchén jìniàn rì_, 佛誕 (_Fódàn_, Birthday of the Buddha), 浴佛節 (_Yùfójié_, Occasion of Bathing the Buddha), 衛塞節 (_Wèisāi jié_) * Hindi : बुद्ध पूर्णिमा _Buddha Pūrṇimā_, बुद्ध जयन्ती _Buddha Jayantī_, वैशाख पूर्णिमा _Vaisākh Pūrṇimā_ * Indonesian : _Hari Raya Waisak_ * Japanese : 花祭 _Hanamatsuri_ (Day of Flowers) * Khmer : វិសាខបូជា _Visak Bochea_ * Kannada : ಬುದ್ಧ ಪೌರ್ಣಮಿ _Buddha Pournami_ * Hangul : 석가 탄신일; Hanja : 釋迦誕辰日; RR : _Seokka Tanshin-il_ (Birthday of the Shakyamuni Buddha) * Lao : ວິສາຂະບູຊາ _ Vixakha Bouxa _ * Malay : _Hari Wesak (هاري ويسق)_ * Mongolian : Бурхан Багшийн Их Дүйцэн Өдөр (Lord Buddha's Great Festival Day) * Newari : स्वांया पुन्हि _Swānyā Punhi_ * Nepali : बुद्ध पुर्णिमा _Buddha Purnima_, बुद्ध जयन्ति _Buddha Jayanti_ * Sinhalese : වෙසක් _Vesak_ * Tamil : விசாக தினம் _Vicāka Tiṉam_ * Telugu : బుద్ధ పౌర్ణమి _Buddha Pournami_ or alternatively Telugu : వైశాఖ పౌర్ణమి _ Vaisakha Pournami_ * Thai : วิสาขบูชา _Wisakha Bucha_ * Tibetan : ས་ག་ཟླ་བ།, THL : _Sa Ga Dawa_ * Vietnamese : _Phật Đản_ (Birthday of the Buddha)


May 2007 had two full moon: days the 1st and the 31st. Some countries (including Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Malaysia) celebrated Vesākha on the 1st, and others (Thailand, Singapore) celebrated the holiday on the 31st because of a different local lunar observance. The difference also manifests in the observance of other Buddhist holidays, which are traditionally observed at the local full moon.

Likewise, in 2012, Vesak
was observed on 28 April in Hong Kong and Taiwan, on 5 May in Sri Lanka, on 6 May in India, on 28 May in South Korea and on 4 June in Thailand. (In 1999, the Taiwanese government set Buddha's birthday as the second Sunday of May, the same date as Mother\'s Day . ). In 2014, Vesak
is celebrated on 13 May in Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand while it is observed on 15 May in Indonesia.

On Vesākha, devout Buddhists and followers alike assemble in their various temples before dawn for the ceremonial and honorable hoisting of the Buddhist flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the holy triple gem: The Buddha , The Dharma (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 teacher. These symbolic offerings are to remind followers that just as the beautiful flowers would wither away after a short while and the candles and joss-sticks would soon burn out, so too is life subject to decay and destruction. 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 Vesākha and all liquor shops and slaughter houses are closed by government decree during the two days.

Also birds, insects and animals are released by the thousands in what is known as a 'symbolic act of liberation' of giving freedom to those who are in captivity, imprisoned, or tortured against their will. (The practice, however, is banned in some countries such as Singapore, as it is believed that the released animals are unable to survive long-term and may adversely impact the local ecosystem if they do.)

Some devout Buddhists will wear a simple white dress and spend the whole day in temples with renewed determination to observe the eight Precepts. Young novice monk on Vesākha Day Parade

Devout Buddhists undertake to lead a noble life according to the teaching by making daily affirmations to observe the Five Precepts . However, on special days, notably new moon and full moon days, they observe the eight Precepts to train themselves to practice morality, simplicity, and humility.

Some temples also display a small statue of the Buddha in front of the altar in a small basin filled with water and decorated with flowers, allowing devotees to pour water over the statue; it is symbolic of the cleansing of a practitioner's bad karma, and to reenact the events following the Buddha's birth, when devas and spirits made heavenly offerings to him.

Devotees are expected to listen to talks given by monks. On this day, monks will recite verses uttered by the Buddha twenty-five centuries ago to invoke peace and happiness for the government and the people. Buddhists are reminded to live in harmony with people of other faiths and to respect the beliefs of other people as the Buddha taught.


is celebrated in Jetavana
, India, 2011


In Japan, Vesākha or _hanamatsuri_ (花祭) is also known as _Kanbutsue_ (灌仏会), _Goutan'e_ (降誕会)), _Busshoue_ (仏生会), _Yokubutsue_ (浴仏会), _Ryuge'e_ (龍華会) and _Hanaeshiki_ (花会式). It is not a public holiday. It is based on a legend that a dragon appeared in the sky on the Buddha's birthday and poured soma over him.

It used to be celebrated on the 8th day of the fourth month in the Chinese calendar based on one of the legends that proclaims the day as Buddha's birthday. At present, the celebration is observed on 8 April of the Solar Calendar since the government of Meiji Japan
adopted the western solar calendar as the official calendar. Since the 8th day of the fourth month in the lunar calendar commonly falls in May of the current solar calendar, it is now celebrated about a month earlier.

In Japan, Vesak
celebrations include pouring _甘茶_ (amacha ), a sweet tea made from _ Hydrangea macrophylla _, on statues. In Buddhist religious sites such as temples and viharas , more involved ceremonies are conducted for lay Buddhists, priests, and monks and nuns.


Vesak, commonly known in Nepal as "Buddha Jayanti" is widely celebrated all across the country, predominantly, Lumbini – the birthplace of Buddha, and Swayambhu – the holy temple for Buddhists, also known as "the Monkey Temple". The main door of Swayambhu is opened only on this very day, therefore, people from all over Kathmandu valley are stimulated by the event. Thousands of pilgrims from various parts of the world come together to celebrate Buddha's birthday at his birthplace, Lumbini . In Nepal , Buddha is worshipped by all religious groups, therefore "Buddha Jayanti" is marked by a public holiday. People donate foods and clothes to the needy and also provide financial aid to monasteries and schools where Buddhism is taught and practised.


_ A Vesak
pandal or thorana_ in Colombo, Sri Lanka Vesak Thorana in Piliyandala, Sri Lanka

is celebrated as a religious and a cultural festival in Sri Lanka on the full moon of the lunar month of Vesak
(usually in the Gregorian month of May), for about one week. During this week, the selling of alcohol and fresh meat is usually prohibited, with abattoirs also being closed. Celebrations include religious and alms-giving activities. Electrically-lit pandals called _thoranas_ are erected in locations mainly in Colombo, Kandy, Galle and elsewhere, most sponsored by donors, religious societies and welfare groups. Each pandal illustrates a story from the Jataka tales .

In addition, colourful lanterns called _ Vesak
kuudu_ are hung along streets and in front of homes. They signify the light of the Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha. Food stalls set up by Buddhist devotees called _dansälas_ provide free food and drinks to passersby. Groups of people from community organisations, businesses and government departments sing _bhakti gee_ (Buddhist devotional songs). Colombo experiences a massive influx of people from all parts of the country during this week.


Lotus Lantern Festival (연등회, Yeon Deung Hoe) in Seoul

In South Korea the birthday of Buddha is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Korean lunar calendar (as well as in Hong Kong , Macau , Vietnam) and is an official holiday. This day is called 석가탄신일 (Seokga tansinil), meaning "Buddha's birthday" or 부처님 오신 날 (Bucheonim osin nal) meaning "the day when the Buddha came". It has now grown into one of the nation’s biggest cultural festivals. Lotus lanterns cover the entire temple throughout the month which are often flooded down the street. On the day of Buddha's birth, many temples provide free meals and tea to all visitors. The breakfast and lunch provided are often sanchae bibimbap .


The VIXAKHA BOUXA festival is the Lao version of the Thai Visakha Puja, which it closely resembles. It commemorates the birth , enlightenment , and death of the Buddha , which are all said to have happened on the same date. It is held around the month of May or _Vesak_, based on the lunar calendar. Celebrations include dances , poems , parades , processions , deep meditation , theatrical performances , and puppet shows .

Boun Bang Fay

One part of the Vixakha Bouxa festival is called BOUN BANG FAY, or Rocket Festival . As this occurs during the hottest and driest season of the year, large homemade rockets are launched into the sky in an attempt to convince the celestial beings to send down rain . Traditionally, Buddhist monks made the rockets out of hollow bamboo tubes filled with gunpowder (among other things). Nowadays, lay people make the _bang fai_ more like fireworks and hold competitions for the highest, fastest and most colorful rockets. The event takes place on both sides of the Mekhong River border between Thailand and the Lao People's Democratic Republic, and sometimes teams from the neighbouring countries will compete against each other. Tourists travel long distances to witness this now popular event.


Main article: Huế Phật Đản shootings

Before 1975, the birthday of Buddha was a national public holiday in South Vietnam It was a public festival with float and lantern parades on the streets. However, after the Fall of Saigon , the day was no longer a public holiday.


Celebrated by Buddhists to mark three momentous events in Buddha's life – his birth, enlightenment, and his departure from the human world, the Wesak celebration in Malaysia
begins at dawn when devotees gather at Buddhist temples nationwide to meditate on the Eight Precepts . Donations - giving food to the needy and offerings of incense and joss sticks - and prayers are carried out. The sutras are chanted in unison by monks in saffron robes. The celebration is highlighted by a candle procession. Wesak Day in Malaysia
is a national public holiday.


Day celebration in Borobudur temple, Indonesia

This significant and traditional holy day is observed throughout Indonesia where it is known as Waisak Day. At Borobudur , thousands of Buddhist monks will join together to repeat mantras and meditate as they circuit the temple in a ritual called "Pradaksina". This is a form of tribute to the temple. Monks celebrate the special day by bottling holy water (which symbolises humility) and transporting flames (which symbolize light and enlightenment) from location to location. The monks also took part in the "Pindapata" ritual, where they received charity from the people of Indonesia. Waisak Day in Indonesia has been celebrated as a national public holiday every year since 1983.


In Singapore, Vesak
Day was made a public holiday only in 1955 after many public petitions. In the early decades of the 20th century, Vesak Day was associated with the Ceylonese community which then celebrated it along with their National Day in a two-day event. After World War II, there was a movement to make Vesak
Day a public holiday, with the Singapore Buddhist Association leading the petitions.


In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 54/115, entitled 'International recognition of the Day of Vesak
at United Nations Headquarters and other United Nations offices'. The resolution internationally recognized the Day of Vesak
to acknowledge the contributions that Lord Buddha and Buddhism have made for over two and a half millennia. It also called for annual commemoration of the Day at the UN Headquarters, in New York, and other UN offices around the world.

The Day of Vesak
is an official holiday for the UN offices in many of the countries in the South-East Asia.


* ^ May 2016 calendar of Sri Lanka * ^ May 2016 calendar of Cambodia * ^ Buddha Purnima/ Vesak
in India * ^ http://www.officeholidays.com/religious/buddhist/buddhas_birthday.php * ^ Fowler, Jeaneane D. (1997). _World Religions: it is celebrated to mark the birth, enlightenment and the passing away of the Lord Buddha. An Introduction for Students_. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 1-898723-48-6 . * ^ The World Buddhist Directory * ^ "Visakha Puja". Accesstoinsight.org. Retrieved 20 March 2012. * ^ "World Fellowship of Buddhists Second Two-Year Plan (B.E. 2544-2545/2001-2002)". _Buddha Dhyana Dana Review Online_. Retrieved 2015-12-25. * ^ "RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: 54/115. International recognition of the Day of Vesak
at United Nations Headquarters and other United Nations offices" (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 6 February 2012. * ^ "Vesākha". _The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary_. Retrieved 7 February 2012. * ^ Camaron Kao (14 May 2012), "Thousands of believers mark Buddha\'s birthday", _ China Post _ * ^ Ko Shu-Ling (9 May 2011), "Sakyamuni Buddha birthday celebrated", _Taipei Times_, The legislature approved a proposal in 1999 to designate the birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha — which falls on the eighth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar — a national holiday and to celebrate the special occasion concurrently with International Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. * ^ http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore-news/vesak-day-practice-releasing-animals-harms-ecosystems * ^ "International VisakhaBuja Date Collection". _เมื่อนานาประเทศ ต่างหันหลังให้ (วันวิสาขบูชา) ไทย_. Retrieved 2 February 2012. * ^ http://www.informatik.uni-leipzig.de/~duc/amlich/ * ^ Vesak
Festival in Sri Lanka * ^ Lotus lanterns light up Seoul night * ^ Niên biểu lịch sử Phật giáo Việt Nam * ^ 5 Things About Vesak
Day * ^ "Buddha\'s message of compassion \'timeless\' says UN chief on international day". _UN News Service Section_. United Nations. UN News Centre. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2017. first1= missing last1= in Authors list (help ) * ^ "International recognition of the Day of Vesak
at United Nations Headquarters and other United Nations offices". _www.un.org_. United Nations. Retrieved 11 May 2017.


* The Significance of Vesak
- Buddha Day

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to VESAK _.

* v * t * e

Buddhism topics

* Glossary * Index * Outline


* Three Jewels

* Buddha * Dharma * Sangha

* Four Noble Truths * Noble Eightfold Path * Nirvana * Middle Way


* Tathāgata * Birthday * Four sights * Physical characteristics * Footprint * Relics * Iconography in Laos and Thailand * Films * Miracles

* Family

* Suddhodāna (father) * Māyā (mother) * Mahapajapati Gotamī (aunt, adoptive mother) * Yasodhara (wife) * Rāhula (son) * Ānanda (cousin) * Devadatta (cousin)

* Places where the Buddha stayed * Buddha in world religions


* Avidyā