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Vesak Celebration in Chak Daeng Temple, THAILAND

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Bangkok, Thailand  I  May 15, 2022  I  05.16 PM –

The Special Vesak Day Celebration was organized by Chak Daeng Temple, Thailand on May 14, 2022. This celebration was held under the concept and supervision of Most Venerable Phra Maha Pranom Dhammalankaro, Sasanadhaja Dhammachariya, The Abbot – Chak Daeng Temple, Thailand.

“Vesak”, the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is the most sacred day to millions of Buddhists around the world. It was on the Day of Vesak two and a half millenniums ago, in the year 623 B.C., that the Buddha was born. It was also on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha attained enlightenment, and it was on the Day of Vesak that the Buddha in his eightieth year passed away to Parinirvana. Buddhists celebrate Vesak by decorating their temples with flags and other decorations. They gather in these temples before dawn for the raising of the Buddhist flags while singing hymns. Buddhists are also allowed to bring simple offerings to lay out at the feet of their Great Master, The Buddha. Some temples display a statue of the Baby Buddha in front of the altar in a small basin filled with water and decorated with flowers, allowing people for showering the statue. This is referred to as the bathing of the Buddha. It is a symbol of cleansing bad karma, and a re-enactment of the events following the Buddha’s birth, when devas (gods) and Brahmas showered him with sacred waters from the sky. Vesak is also celebrated with charitable deeds and acts of kindness by Buddhists. It is also expected that they refrain from killing of any being therefore, they are encouraged to eat vegetarian food for the day.

The General Assembly, by its resolution 54/115 of 1999, has recognized internationally the Day of Vesak to acknowledge the contribution of Buddhism, as one of the oldest religions in the world that has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make the spirituality of humanity. This day is commemorated annually at the UN Headquarters and other UN offices, in consultation with the relevant UN offices and with permanent missions, which also wish to be consulted. The teachings of the Buddha, His message of compassion, peace and goodwill have moved millions. Millions around the world follow the teachings of the Buddha and on the Day of Vesak they commemorate the birth, the attainment of enlightenment and the passing away to Parinirvana of the Buddha.

“Evam me sutam ” Ekam samayam bhagava savatthiyam viharati jetavane anatha pindikassa arame. Atha kho annatara devata abhikkantaya rattiya abhikkanta vanna kevalakappam jetavanam obhasetva yena bhagava ten upasankami. Upasankamitva bhagavantam abhivadetva ekamantam atthasi. Ekamantam  thita kho sa devata bhagavantam gathaya ajjhabhasi”.

Thus, have I heard: On one occasion, the Exalted One was dwelling at the monastery of Anathapindika in the Jeta Grove near Savatthi. Shortly after midnight, a certain deity, whose brilliant appearance illuminated the entire jeta grove, came to the Exalted One. After approaching, he respectfully bowed to the Exalted One and stood to one side. There he addressed the Exalted One in verse: Many deities and humans are thinking about happiness, wishing for happiness. Please tell me the greatest happiness. Not associating with fools, associating with the wise, honoring those worthy of honor; this is the greatest happiness. Living in the proper environment having done meritorious deeds in setting oneself in the right direction this is the greatest happiness Becoming learned and knowledgeable, being well-trained and disciplined, speaking in a meaningful way; this is the greatest happiness. Serving one’s father and mother, providing for one’s wife and children, being orderly in one’s occupation; this is the greatest happiness. Sharing and being righteous, helping relatives, avoiding harmful actions; this is the greatest happiness.

Ceasing and abstaining from evil, refraining from intoxicants, being diligent in virtue; this is the greatest happiness. Showing respect and being humble, content and grateful, hearing the dhamma at the proper time; in this is the greatest happiness. Being patient, speaking kind and gentle words, meeting with spiritual people, discussing dhamma at the proper time; this is the greatest happiness. Exercising discipline, living a religious life, perceiving the noble truths, and realizing nibbana; this is the greatest happiness. If when experiencing worldly conditions, one’s mind is not shaken, but remains fearless, free from sorrow and passion; this is the greatest happiness. Those who follow this path, will remain undefeated and will prosper in every way; that is the greatest happiness.

The Eight Amazing Qualities of Dhamma and Discipline – In this Dhamma and Discipline, there is a gradual training, a gradual course, a gradual progression, and there is no sudden attainment of final knowledge. My disciples do not overstep the training rules I have laid down for them, even for the sake of their lives. The community of Bhikkhus does not accommodate an immoral person. They quickly banish him from the community. Those of the four castes—nobles, brahmins, merchants, and workers—having gone forth from home to the homeless life in this Dhamma and Discipline made known by the Tathagata, abandon their former names and identities and are called “recluses, the followers of the Sakyan son.” Although many Bhikkhus attain final Nibbana in the Nibbana-element with no residue left, no lessening or filling up of the Nibbana-element is evident. This Dhamma and Discipline has a single taste—the taste of liberation This Dhamma and Discipline contains many treasures of various kinds, which include: the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right endeavors, the four bases for successful accomplishment, the five faculties, the five powers, the seven enlightenment factors, and the Noble Eightfold Path. This Dhamma and Discipline is the abode of such mighty beings as the Stream-winners, the Once-returners, the Non-returners, the Arahants, and those practicing realizing the four Fruits of the Holy Life.

The Amazing Qualities of the Ocean – In the ocean, there are gradual slopes and inclines, and there is no sudden precipice. The ocean is stable and does not exceed the limits of its tideline. The ocean is not filled with dead bodies. Any dead body in the ocean quickly gets washed to the shore and cast up on dry land. All rivers, regardless of their greatness, lose their former names and identities upon reaching the ocean, and are simply known as “the ocean.” Although the rivers of the world pour into the ocean, and rains fall from the sky, no swelling or diminishing in the ocean is discernible. The ocean has a single taste—the taste of salt. The ocean has many treasures of various kinds: pearls, sapphires, etc. The ocean is the abode of such mighty creatures as the Timi, Timingala, Timirapingala, etc. These creatures are 100 to 500 Yojanas in size. Many men in their fear betake themselves for a refuge to hills, woods, gardens, sacred trees and shrines. Such a refuge is not secure; such a refuge is not supreme. To such a refuge should one go, one is not released from all sorrow. He who takes refuge in the Lord Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha sees with wisdom the Four Noble Truths: Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering, the Noble Eightfold Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering.

Such indeed is a refuge secure; such indeed is a refuge supreme. To such a refuge should one go, one is released from all sorrow. Sandalwood, in the world, is pleasant; pleasanter is the light of the moon. Far pleasanter than sandalwood and the moon is the well-uttered discourse of the righteous. One of pleasant speech has many a friend; one of harsh speech few friends. In this matter, the illustration concerning the moon and the sun should be remembered. A man is not a Bhikkhu simply because he begs from others. By adopting householder’s manner, one does not truly become a Bhikkhu. Let him not despise his own gains. Let him not covet those of others. The Bhikkhu coveting the others’ gains, does not attain concentration. Though a recipient of tittle, a Bhikkhu despises not his own. Him of pure and strenuous life, Devas look up to high. Whether it is cold or hot, whether it is windy or sunny,  whether there are gnats or mosquitoes, he who is unperturbed, who is undaunted by hunger or thirst,  who keeps on working night and day, and who does not let go  of a benefit when occasion arises, is favored by lady luck;  lady luck will reside with him. It is despicable to obtain your glory, acquire your wealth, and earn your living by lowering the value of your life or by conducting yourself wrongfully.

A man should sacrifice his wealth for the sake of his bodily organs, sacrifice his bodily organs so as to save his life, and sacrifice them all—his wealth, bodily organs, and life—in view of righteousness. The sandalwood, being dry, does not part with its fragrance; an elephant, on the march, ceases not to display its grace in the eyes of men; the sugarcane, being brought under a pressing-machine,  does not forsake its sweet taste; a wise man even under affliction,  does not abandon his virtuous conduct. A stone umbrella is weighty. Weightier is the utterance of the gods. The chiding of elders is weightier still. And weightiest are the words of the Buddha A man should admonish in what requires admonition; he should prevent the commission of an evil deed.  Such a one is beloved by the good, but disliked by the wicked One should regard as a guide to hidden treasure someone who points out faults and who reproves. One should associate with such a wise person, the association with whom is only for the better, never for the worse at all. Associate with the good, form companionship with the righteous. It is good, not bad, knowing the goodly ways.

The way to see the Buddha and the best way to commemorate Vesak – Vesak day is regarded as most important day of the Buddhists. Buddha was born on a Vesak day in 523 BC in modern Nepal. He was enlightened on a Vesak day on the full moon day of May at the age of 35 years. He delivered 84000 Dhamma sermons for 45 years and attained Parinibbana (the perfect freedom) also on a Vesak day at the age of 80 years. The Brahmin known as Dona seeing the foot print of the Buddha on the sand was doubtful about the Buddha because he had never seen such a foot print of others and he questioned the Buddha what was He. He asked whether the Buddha was a god, a Brahma or any other super alien. Buddha told Him that He was none other than the Buddha. Then meaning of the Buddha is the person who has realized the things essentially to be known, that the person who has discarded the things that have essentially to be discarded, that the person who has practiced the things that essentially have to be practiced according to His explanation to the Brahmin Dona.

“Parinneyyam  Parinnyatam – Bhavetabbam ca Bhavitam Pahatabbam pahinam me – Tasma Buddhomhi Brahmana”Another old Brahmin wanted to know who the Buddha was and he advised his disciples to go to see Buddha and ask what the meaning of head splitting into seven pieces was.  Then the disciples asked their teacher how to know the Buddha was. Then Brahmin teacher told them the Buddha was endowed with 32 marks on the body and told them to examine His bodily marks and also to think of their questions from far away on their way of approaching. The disciples followed the advice of their teacher and they recognized the Buddha with his physical marks and the answers given to them for their questions from far away even without seeing them. Buddha told them that breaking of head was the getting rid of the illusion. Dhammapada says that the person who thinks of the Buddha frequently is able to sleep well and wake up well.

“Suppabuddham pabujjanti – Sadaa Gotama savaka Yesam diva ca ratto ca – Niccam Buddha gataa sati” – The Buddha is our first refuge, the protection. There is none to call Buddha rather than the enlightened One. According to Buddha one doesn’t need to see the Buddha physically but to learn Dharma and practice. Learning of Dharma is the way to see the Buddha because ordinary ascetic Siddhartha was named as Buddha after His enlightenment. The life and conduct of the Buddha is the Dharma. “Yo Dhammam passati so mam passata” – “One who sees Dharma sees me” Therefore, real Buddha is the Dharma. We can call it Dharmakaya Buddha as introduced by Mahayana Buddhism. Most excellent teaching in Buddhism is the dependent origination  (Paticca Samuppaada) Upatissa being the Ven. Sariputta as layman wanting to know a proper teacher to learn how to achieve Nirvana was able to meet Rev. Assaji and asked him who was his teacher as the behaviour of Ven. Assaji has already shown certain marks of His teacher. Then Ven. Assaji told him that His teacher was the Great Recluse that who has revealed the causes and conditions of the things that were happened and the annihilation of those causes and conditions of things. The life is a great illusion unless the Buddha has revealed the way of Sansara. Each and every one depends on the Karma in the past. The present good Karma helps a person to change their life into a better one. Therefore, the Buddha advises devotees to not to commit evils what so ever and do good Karma. Charity, morality and meditation are the basic teaching of the Buddha that one has to follow. Charity and morality generate happiness here and here after. And the meditation generates the wisdom to overcome suffering.

On this month of May is considered the season of Vesak celebration. Therefore, we should become vegetarians practically to show our compassion and love to all beings. Helping of the needy and the elderly is also can be done as a compassionate action. Sangha is the field of merit and the sight of Sangha is a factor of blessing according to Mangala Sutta. That means there is a very good opportunity for you to learn moral lessons and meditation if Sangha is available. The suitable locality to live is the place where temples and monks available and it is also a factor for blessings or welfare according to Mangala Sutta. But where there is no confidence to Triple Gem there isn’t practice. Confidence with the wisdom is very beneficial for an individual to follow Buddhism on the right path. Buddhism comprises of noble eight- fold path namely the middle path and it is the only way to get rid of suffering and to attain Nirvana. Morality in eight- fold path consists of right speech, right action and right livelihood. Absorption consists of right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration and the wisdom consists of right view and right thoughts in the eight- fold path. Buddha said in His last breath “Appamadena sampadetha waya dhamma samkhara” That means do not hesitate to follow the teaching and do it heedfully to achieve Nirvana because everything is impermanent. Let us follow the Noble teaching of the Buddha and it is the greatest respect and gratitude to our Great Master Tathagata Samma Sambuddha...

Buddhika Sanjeewa  I  After visit to Bangkok, Thailand