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Vesakha Puja

Buddha Mind - get one, be one.

INTRODUCTION | MOON DAYS | MAGHA | VESAKHA | ASALHA | PAVARANA | KATHINA | SUMMARY

Vesakha is the sixth lunar month of the old Indian calendar - usually falling in May.

Vesak is probably the most universally celebrated festival in the whole Buddhist calendar. In the Theravada tradition it is a remembrance of the three most significant events in the Buddha's life - his birth, enlightenment and final passing. Tradition has it that these all took place on the full moon of Vesakha. It is unlikely that this is historically accurate but that these three events are celebrated on the same day gives great importance to the occasion. The day is very much centered around devotional practices; especially in relation to a recollection of the life of Gotama Buddha and there are often readings from scriptural texts or contemporary commentaries of various stories from his life. These would be interspersed with periods of meditation. Shrines and the Buddha images in particular will receive a lot of attention on this day.

The Buddha on full moon night

The coming of a Buddha - an enlightened being - into the world is seen as tremendously important. The teachings given by such a being are seen as a light that dispells the darkness of ignorance and the use of lights or lanterns is common as a way of marking this festival. In Sri Lanka much is made of this with great processions and illuminated floats.

A circumambulation [see: RITUALS] is commonly part of the evening's events and both the monastery generally and the path walked at this time will often have been decorated during the day with a variety of lights brought by visiting families. These will be lit just prior to the circumambulation to illuminate the way and candles or lanterns will often be carried by those in the procession..

Vesakha Puja is often called Buddha day.

INTRODUCTION | MOON DAYS | MAGHA | VESAKHA | ASALHA | PAVARANA | KATHINA | SUMMARY