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Visak Purnima Day - May 5, 2012

May 05, 2012 07:18 AM
by MKR

*Today is a day of celebration in many countries in the East. Lord Buddha,
the greatest reformer of the East is remembered. Here is an account. You
can read the full account at:*




*Wesak 2012 in Sri Lanka*

In Sri Lanka the Wesak Festival is celebrated as a religious and a cultural
festival in Sri Lanka on the full moon of the month of May, for two days.
In Sri Lanka, Wesak 2012 will be celebrated from Saturday, 5 May 2012 to
Sunday, 5 May 2012.

During these two days, the selling of alcohol and flesh is prohibited by
government decree. As a symbolic act of liberation, birds, insects and
animals are released in huge numbers.

Celebrations include various religious and alms giving activities.
Electrically lit pandols called toranas are erected in various locations in
Colombo and elsewhere, most sponsored by donors, religious societies and
welfare groups. Each pandol illustrates a story from the 550 Jataka Katha
or the 550 Past Life Stories of the Buddha.

In addition, colourful lanterns called Vesak koodu are hung along streets
and in front of homes. They signify the light of the Buddha, Dharma and the
Sangha. Many devout Buddhists wear simple white dresses on Vesak Day and
spend the whole day in temples with renewed determination to observe the
observance of the Eight Precepts of Buddhism.

Vesak celebration also means making special efforts to bring happiness to
the people in more straightened circumstances. Food stalls set up by
Buddhist devotees called dansÃlas provide free food and drinks to
passersby. Groups of people from various community organisations,
businesses and government departments sing bhakti gee or Buddhist
devotional songs. Colombo experiences a massive influx of public from all
parts of the country during this week.

*2012 Buddha Purnima in India*

In India, Vesak Day is known as Buddha Purnima. On this day, Buddhists do
not eat meat. This is considered an act of compassion towards animals.
People are encouraged to perform other acts of kindness such as sharing
food with the poor. Some people even set up road stalls providing free,
clean drinking water. Buddha Purnima 2012 will be celebrated on Sunday, 6
May 2012 in India.

Birth of Buddha or Tathagata is celebrated in India, especially in Sikkim,
Ladakh , Arunachal Pradesh, Bodh Gaya and Maharashtra (where 6% of total
population are Buddhists) and other parts of India as per Indian calendar.
Buddhist People go to common Viharas to observe a rather longer-than-usual,
full-length Buddhist sutra, as something like a service. The usual dress is
pure white. Non-vegetarian food is normally avoided. Kheer, a sweet rice
porridge is commonly served to recall the story of Sujata, a maiden who, in
Gautama Buddhaâs life, offered the Buddha a bowl of milk porridge.

The Buddhists bathe and dress only in white clothes. They gather in their
viharas (monasteries) before sunrise to worship Buddha, offer alms to the
bhikshus (monks), hoist the Buddhist flag, and sing hymns admiring the
sacred triple treasure: The Buddha, The Dharma (his teachings), and The
Sangha (his disciples).

Many devotees offer flowers, candles, and joss sticks at the feet of the
monks. Such a ritual allows a Buddhist to reflect on the truth that just as
the magnificent flowers shrink and the candles and joss sticks burn out in
short time, our life span is too short and will decay soon.

Several followers listen to the continuous speech on the life and preaching
of the Buddha throughout the day or request monks to come to their homes.
Buddhist monks recite 2500 years old verses obtained from Buddha and urge
people to respect other religions.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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