Today is full moon and for many Buddhists this is a special day, because the Vesak holiday is celebrated worldwide. According to tradition, Buddha was born on full moon in May, later became enlightened and also passed away on this day. This is how this day is honoured in countries like Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and also in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and many more. And above all of this, the full moon shines.
In 1999, United Nations confirmed the international recognition of the day of Vesak and for this to be the most sacred day of Buddhists, following the request of an international Buddhist conference. In the memorandum of the UN’s meeting, is a short explanation of Vesak and its historic background and reference is being made to Buddha’s teaching and his message of compassion, peace and goodwill. Subsequently, the decision was announced, which was to have far reaching implications. Interestingly enough, Buddha’s year of birth is indicated in the text of the United Nations as being »623 B.C.« – this is quite astonishing, as historians throughout the world have not reached an agreement on a date yet. Anyhow, one thing seems to be certain, that Buddha was born on full moon. An altogether coherent picture – as the full moon does stand for entireness and perfection.
Vesak is the reason to commemorate Buddha with festivities all over the world. Thousands of candles are being lit, flowers are given and meditations are held for world peace. To honour the special moment of birth, standing Buddha figures are placed on altars, whereby water is poured onto the figure, in the sense of a cleansing ritual.
We would like to wish all Buddhists a celebratory and peaceful day, surrounded by full moon light. Everyone who is part of a different world religion, might be able to find some cause for thought in some of Buddhas sentences. We, for example, liked this sentence: »The greatest prayer is patience«. Who could not take some practice in this?