Friday, May 12, 2006

Happy Vesak Day

A Moment of Contemplation

To all Buddhist out there, Happy Vesak Day. I know this is a religious festival and not a festive occasion, but let us rejoice and contemplate on the deeds and teaching of Gautama Buddha.

For the benefit of those who are in the dark, Vesak Day is celebrated once a year to commemorate the Birth, Enlightenment and the Passing Away of Gautama Buddha. Usually on this day, Buddhists will partake vegetarian food, release birds and animals, as well as going to the temple to pray and meditate.

Like last year, this year I will celebrate Vesak Day in Melbourne. It is definately a low-key event as surprisingly there is a lack of acknowledgement concerning Vesak Day here. Nevertheless, I will try my best to radiate loving kindness today in honor of Gautama Buddha. By the way, it is not that I seldom radiate loving kindness, its just that I'll radiate more today. =)

Contemplating on Vesak Day, I couldn't help but feeling how great Buddhism is as a religion. Buddhism is one of the most misunderstood religion nowadays, with some people associating it with the pagan acts of worshipping a myriad of Gods and leaving food for the departed ones. In fact, there is no God in Buddhism. The Buddha is just a normal being like you and me but who had attained enlightenment. The Buddha's teachings are relevant to the current world; as the basic of Buddhism is a philosophy of morality and ethics. The whole teaching can be simplified in three sentences: Avoid all evil. Do good. Purify One's Mind.

One things I like about Buddhism is that Gautama Buddha teaches his diciples not to take his word as the truth; but rather let them discover the truth themselves. This encapsulate what I believe about religion; it is there to guide us on our lives, but not there for us to accept it as the truth. Buddha encourages us to question about everything, and not just accepting and believing things blindly. Besides, he did not force others to convert into the religion; in fact he usually invites those who are interested to understand the religion first before converting.

For someone who would like to learn more about buddhism, I recommend this book The Naked Buddha by Adrienne Howley, or you can just drop in to visit my friend See Hua's blog. Happy Vesak Day! May you be well and happy always.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

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