Wesak (or Vesak) is a day celebrated by Buddhists around the world. It commemorates three significant events in Gautama Buddha’s life –his birthday, his enlightenment and his passing away. Wesak is observed on the Full Moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakh. This year it occurs on Monday, May 4th.
During this festival, devotees choose offerings of flowers, joss sticks and candles. This is to remind them that just as flowers wither away after a short while and the joss sticks and candles soon burn away, so too is life temporary and subject to decay and destruction. In Buddhism, death is not the end of life. Buddhism does teach rebirth but differentiates it from reincarnation because Buddhism does not recognize a self or soul that is continually reappearing in a new form. Death for the unenlightened who are consumed with desire, is followed by yet another life. However, the enlightened, who have extinguished all desire, including the desire to be born again, do not experience rebirth.
” Buddha ” was not a personal name, but a title, translated as the “Enlightened One” or the One who Knows.” Gautama became “The Buddha” through his realization of full and perfect enlightenment. This state is also known as Nirvana in Sanskrit and occurs when a person sees and understands the true nature of all things. As a result, all their greed, hatred and delusion are extinguished which in turn means that there will be no more rebirth. The Buddha achieved the state of Nirvana on the Full Moon day in Vesakh, providing a second reason for commemoration and observance.
The “Bathing the Buddha” ceremony is often a part of the Wesak celebration. A small statue of the Buddha is placed in a basin filled with water and decorated with flowers, allowing devotees to pour water over the shoulders of the Buddha. This act is symbolic of the cleansing of a practitioner’s bad karma and serves to remind fellow Buddhists to purify the mind from greed, lead noble lives and practice morality and kindness.
Tradition ascribes to the Buddha himself instruction on how to pay him homage. Just before he passed, he saw his faithful attendant weeping. The Buddha advised him not to weep, but to understand the universal law that all things, including even his own body, must disintegrate. He advised everyone not to cry over the disintegration of the physical body but to regard his teachings –the Dhamma –as their teacher from then on, because only the Dhamma truth is eternal and not subject to the laws of change. He stressed that the way to pay homage to him was not merely by offering flowers, incense and lights, but by truly and sincerely striving to follow his teachings. The Wesak cebration on the anniversary of his passing reminds his followers of these final words of the Buddha.
On Wesak day, devotees are expected to listen to talks given by monks who recite verses uttered by the Buddha twenty-five centuries ago. Buddhists are reminded to live in harmony with people of other faiths and to respect the beliefs of other people as the Buddha taught. On Wesak, followers use the opportunity to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, to practice loving kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity. May we all follow this example and celebrate the Wesak with joy and dedication to the principles enumerated by Gautama the Buddha. Happy May 3rd and Happy Wesak!
About the Center for the New Age
Spirit guided us to this special place which centuries earlier was used by ancient people as a ceremonial site. We were guided by Spirit to open the Center at this place which is now the heart of spirituality in Sedona.
We’ve searched the globe and pulled the most accurate Psychics and Healers and amazing Massage-Therapists from all over the world who have come here to be part of this special community, whose energy makes them even more psychic. Their services are offered at the Center daily and by phone at (928) 282-2085.
Center for the New Age
341 State Route 179
across from Tlaquepaque
Sedona, AZ 86336-6111