Saturday, May 9, 2009

What is Vesak to me

This is my friend, Punna's meditation on Vesak

Vesak Day serves to remind ourselves of the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing away of the Lord Buddha.

In 1950, the World Fellowship of Buddhists declared Vesak Day to fall on the first full moon day of May. Please realise that the exact date is immaterial but what we do on that day is! It is an uposatha or precept day, a day when we make effort to be generous, to keep at least the five precepts, or learning the Dhamma, or meditating.

In this, we will be doing what the Buddha said is the best way to honour Him, by practising His Teachings; not just by flowers, joss-sticks or candles. The true spirit of Vesak lies in Living the Dhamma through metta karuna, dana, precepts and meditation.

On this day we recall the Buddha's birthday. He was born a human being, but he had trained for many lifetimes for enlightenment, and is now ready for the final 100metres of a long marathon. He is human like any of us, flesh and blood with physical and mental pain. This is extremely important for it shows that we too can train to be enlightened, to evolve to become beings with perfect minds.

We celebrate the Buddha's Enlightenment, the awakening to reality, mental perfection and purity that brings the enlightened beyond all realms of existence so that He is liberated from all suffering, physical or mental, human or divine.

We also recall the Buddha's passing away on this day. His final message from His deathbed is "Strive on with Diligence". The Buddha had taught us to be "an island unto yourself". With the Buddha's passing away, our teacher now is the Dhamma-Vinaya, our standard and way of life being codified in it. It is not a human teacher to whom we entrust decisions, or who passes judgement on right and wrong, or who is an infallible leader. No human can do that now hence it is in the Dhamma-Vinaya that we rely on. The Dhamma is our island, our light, our guide. We have the potential to be truly happy, and to be liberated from suffering. The answer to our problems lies within our minds. This is what Vesak means.......


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