Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wesak Day_19.05.08

We celebrated Wesak Day on 19.05.08 commemorating the three important events in the life of the Buddha - his Birth, Enlightenment and Passing Away. In Malaysia, the first full-moon in May is designated as Wesak Day.
Every year, on Wesak Day, my family and I visit a Buddhist temple to offer the traditional Buddhist offerings and to receive the blessings from the monks. We, then spend the rest of the day, reading the leaflets and books on Buddhism, collected from the temple.

This year, we went to the Buddhist Hall in Subang Jaya at 9.00 in the morning. It was already crowded with devotees queuing up to enter the hall for prayers and receive blessings.
Subang Jaya Buddhist Association Hall
Devotees waiting patiently outside the Hall

Before entering the Hall, we offered joss sticks, candles and flowers. As understood from the books on Buddhism, the offerings are actually just symbolic reminders. The joss sticks remind us of the 'fragrance' of the Buddha's Teaching which pervade the world. Candles represents His Teachings which light the way in darkness. The flowers remind us that our lives are impermanent, like the 'flowers' we offer.

Rama offering joss sticks

Priya offering joss sticks and candle

After entering the Hall, we were seated for the prayers and received blessings from the monks. We placed the flowers in jars placed at the altar as an offering to Buddha.
Prayers in the Hall
Prayers and Blessing from Monk
Before leaving the Hall, we were given blessed yellow strings and holy water to sprinkle at home. As always, we proceed to tie the strings on our right hand for blessing of health, happiness and harmony.

Chitra tying the yellow string on Priya's hand.

We visited the stall outside the hall which offered books, booklets and CDs on Buddhism. Before leaving, we also lighted an oil lamp for the symbolic act of "Light of Wisdom" overcoming the darkness of Ignorance.
Lighting an Oil Lamp

Raj and Rama at Wesak Day

We went back home laden with books and CDs on Buddhism. We also brought back additional yellow strings for distribution to our family members.
Priya tying the yellow string on Grandmother's hand.

I discovered a gem of a book entitled "Anyone can go to Heaven, Just be Good" by TY Lee, which offers a simple introduction to the Buddha's teachings.

One of the interesting quotation on Buddhism found in the book is as follows:

"What happens to us after this life depends on how we conduct ourselves in this present life.

The path to Heaven is not by faith or worship, but by doing good and avoiding evil."

For more information on Buddhist teachings, visit website

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