Vesakh 2014

On the occasion of Vesakh 2014, I am wishing everyone a wonderful day full of love and happiness!

A picture of the Mahabodhi temple, Bodhgaya
Mahabodhi temple, Bodhgaya
Vesakh day, also known as Buddha Purnima, is probably the most important Buddhist holiday. It is usually celebrated on the first full moon in May to commemorate the Buddha's birth, awakening and Parinirvana (or passing). There are of course different rituals and ceremonies conducted by different traditions. Still, a common feature is that of reciting praises about the Buddha and his life, such as for example praises about the twelve deeds of the Buddha. These twelve deeds, which are mainly commemorated in the Mahayana tradition, are:
1) descent from Tushita heaven
2) entering the mother's womb
3) taking birth in this world
4) developing skills in various arts
5) taking delight in his royal consort
6) leaving the household and ordination
7) the practice of austerities during six years
8) taking seat under the Bodhi tree
9) overcoming Mara and his hords
10) full awakening
11) turning the wheel of Dharma
12) passing into parinirvana
In addition, it is also customary to practice meritorious deeds on this day such as reciting sutras, refraining from eating meat, drinking alcohol, observing the one day vows, visiting temples, making offerings, engaging in the practice of freeing lives and so on.

A short way to remember the Buddha and his teaching is through reading and thinking about the famous four seals of Dharma which have for example been formulated in the Sāgaranāgarājaparipṛcchā:
1) All compounded phenomena are impermanent 
2) All contaminated phenomena are suffering 
3) All phenomena are without self 
4) Nirvana is peace

So, wherever you are, have a nice Vesakh celebration!

The only remedy for the suffering of beings,
The source of every happiness to come -
May the teaching [of the Buddha] be available, respected,
And abide for a long period of time! 
Shantideva, Bodhicaryavatara, Ch. X, 57:

Please let me know - How do you celebrate Vesakh day? Leave a comment below!

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