Vesak Celebration

May 2023 edition

Vesak Celebration

Article summary

This is the month of Vesak celebration. Which is also known as Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, or Buddha Day, Vesak full moon Poya day is generally a holiday observed by Buddhists and others who believes in Buddhism. This is the day we remember & celebrate the birth of the noble one, the enlightenment, and the death or passing away of the Siddhartha Gautama Samma Sambuddha. All these important events are said to have happened on the same day throughout the noble one’s life.

So, I thought of using this month’s editorial to discuss some commonly asked questions about this celebration.  This is a question arise in many kids as well as some adults too.  The question is: "It is understandable to celebrate a birth and the enlightenment of the blessed one.  But how can we celebrate the death or passing away of the blessed one?  Is it something to celebrate?  It is a sad moment and if the blessed one alive we can listen to dhamma still, then why we should celebrate the passing away?"  Such questions arise when it comes to the third factor of Vesak Celebration.  So, let’s understand the depth and the hidden defilement in this raised question. 

Passing away or the death means the sad topics for the general beings.  Death of a person or the separation from what is pleasing to us is always suffering & depressing.  So, it is natural to ask such questions about celebrating a death of a noble one.

But let’s think about this fact little bit deeper and wiser.  What cause a Samma Sambuddha to arise in this world?  Like we discussed in one of our previous editorials The Three Things “Jāti ca jarā ca maraṇañca. Ime kho bhikkhave tayo dhammā loke na saṃvijjeyyuṃ, na tathāgato loke uppajjeyya arahaṃ sammāsambuddho, na tathāgatappavedito dhammavinayo leke dippeyya - Birth, Old Age, and Death. If these three things were not found, the Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Samma SamBuddha would not arise in the world, and the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One would not shine in the world” 

So, Death is one of the factors which cause Samma Sambuddha to arise in the world, also to shine the deep teachings of a Samma Sambuddha.  By understanding the depth of the death, the blessed one overcome the process of birth & death and everything in between.

We can’t be happy about the death as it is not the end but yet another beginning which cause to continue the journey of samsara.  But a Samma Sambuddha realized the end of this existence and taught us the way too.  So, the death of the blessed one is the last death of this countless death.  And it is the evidence of possibility of having a last death.  No more birth or no more death in this existence.  That’s why it is also known as parinibbāna which means the completion of the nibbana the enlightenment.

As disciples one should realize that everything arise has to end.  If there is a birth the changing process and the death at the end is its nature.  And the death of the Samma Sambuddha also proves that.  No matter how noble or higher is someone or something everything subjected to end.  So, Vesak celebration should bring that teaching closer to our lives.  And also, Vesak should remind us the fact of ending such a process forever by realizing the noble teachings of a Samma Sambuddha by having a last birth & last death! 

So, my dear friend if you are unhappy about the fact of celebrating the death of a Samma Sambuddha think deeply, that means you are still bit far away from being a true disciple of a Samma Sambuddha.  That also reflect that even though you are appreciating the fact of being enlighten and achieving nibbana is a noble fact, your heart still not accepting it completely.  Because when it comes to the completion of Nibbana, you heart is refusing to celebrate it.  Your heart finds it difficult to accept the fact of ending the existence forever!  Think about it, that’s why we are still being a part of this existence.  Because the teachings of Samma Sambuddha did not touch us deeply.  So, what use of his existence for such narrow set of a mind?  What good will bring us of his presence if we still refuse to accept the birth, decaying and death as it is?

So, my dear dhamma friends… my dear dhamma juniors… reflects the life wisely! 

Vesak Celebration is kind of evidence of possibility of ending this endless samsara.  It is celebration of a noble being who practically shown us the path of true awakening.  From Vesak lanterns, giving food or other donation to everything we do in this Poya day should reflect us this Noble one and the Noble path!  So, understanding the Celebrating of a death of a noble one also shows how we are interest on achieving the Nibbana the last birth as shown by the blessed one.  So, celebrate Vesak the Day of the Samma Sambuddha and take a step towards Nibbana the ultimate cessation of the endless existence!!!

Rajitha Viduransi | Kelaniya, Sri Lanka