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Wesak or Vesak, also known as Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day (Local or regional customs may use a variation of this date.)

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Mon, 30/04/2018 (All day)

10th May

Wesak or Vesak, also known as Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day (Local or regional customs may use a variation of this date.) 


Vesākha (Pali;Sanskrit: Vaiśākha, Devanagari: वैशाख), Wesak or Vesak, also known as Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day, is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists on different days in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and the South East Asian countries of Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia, and other places all over the world.  Sometimes informally called "Buddha's Birthday", it actually commemorates the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the THERAVADA ["Little Raft" following the original teachings]  OR SOUTHERN TRADITION. 

The exact date of Vesak is based on the Asian lunisolar calendars and is primarily celebrated in Vaisakha month of the Buddhist calendar and the Hindu calendar, and hence the name Vesak.  In Nepal, which is considered the birth-country of Buddha, it is celebrated on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Hindu calendar, and is traditionally called Buddha Purnima, Purnima meaning the full moon day in Sanskrit.  In Theravada countries following the Buddhist calendar, it falls on a full moon Uposatha day, typically in the 5th or 6th lunar month.  In China, Japan, and Korea, it is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar.  The date varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar, but usually falls in April or May.  In leap years it may be celebrated in June. 

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: Buddho Purnima (বুদ্ধ পূর্ণিমা), 

Bengali: Buddho Purnima (বুদ্ধ পূর্ণিমা), Buddho Joyonti (বুদ্ধ জয়ন্তী) or Bhesak (ভেসাক

Burmese: Kason Full Moon Day 

Chinese: 佛陀誕辰紀念日 (Fótuó dànchén jìniàn rì), 佛誕 (Fó Dàn), 浴佛節 (YùFó jié), 衛塞節 (Wèisāi jié) 

Tagalog: Araw Ni Buddha 

Hindi: Buddha Purnima (बुद्ध पूर्णिमा), Budhha Jayanti (बुद्ध जयन्ती), Vaishakh Purnima (वैशाख पूर्णिमा

Indonesian: Hari Raya Waisak 

Japanese: Hanamatsuri (花祭

Khmer: Visak Puja (or Visak Bochea) (វិសាខបូជា

Korean: Seokka Tanshin-il (석가 탄신일, 釋迦誕辰日

Laotian: Vixakha Bouxa (ວິສາຂບູຊາ Vixakha Bouxa) 

Malaysian: Hari Wesak 

Nepal language: Swānyā Punhi (स्वांया पुन्हि

Nepali: Buddha Purnima (बुद्ध पुर्णिमा), Budhha Jayanti (बुद्ध जयन्ति

Sinhala: Vesak (වෙසක්) Full Moon Poya Day 

Tibetan: Saga Dawa (*ས་ག་ཟླ་བ།

Thai: Wisakha Bucha (วิสาขบูชา

Vietnamese: Phật Đản 

On Vesākha day, devout Buddhists and followers alike are expected and requested to 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. [citation needed] 

Devout Buddhists undertake to lead a noble life according to the teaching by making daily affirmations to observe the Five Precepts [The precepts in all the traditions are essentially identical and are commitments to abstain from harming living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication.] 

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. 

And some devout Buddhists will wear a simple white dress and spend the whole day in temples with renewed determination to observe the eight Precepts.  [The Five Precepts, plus 1. No eating after noon, 2. No entertainment, 3. Not elevating oneself, not being arrogant, but humble.] 

[There are two more too, esp. for monks, nuns: No self adornment, No use of money.]

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. 

Bringing happiness to others 

Celebrating Vesākha also means making special efforts to bring happiness to the unfortunate like the aged, the handicapped and the sick.  To this day, Buddhists will distribute gifts in cash and kind to various charitable homes throughout the country. 

Vesākha is also a time for great joy and happiness, expressed not by pandering to one’s appetites but by concentrating on useful activities such as decorating and illuminating temples, painting and creating exquisite scenes from the life of the Buddha for public dissemination. 

Devout Buddhists also vie with one another to provide refreshments and vegetarian food to followers who visit the temple to pay homage to the Enlightened One.[citation needed] 

Paying homage to the Buddha 

Tradition ascribes to the Buddha himself instruction on how to pay him homage.  Just before he died, he saw his faithful attendant Ananda, weeping.  The Buddha advised him not to weep, but to understand the universal law that all compounded 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 law of change. 

He also 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. 

This is how Buddhists are expected to celebrate Vesak: to use the opportunity to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, to practise loving-kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity.

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