Under the prevailing situation in the country, one might argue that celebrating Vesak is not the wisest decision to make. However, it is high time that we Buddhists take some time to reflect on how we celebrate the most important Buddhist Festival of all time.
Vesak is the festival that celebrates Lord Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment, and Passing Away. The message of the ever-changing state of the world and the fact that nothing is permanent is highlighted therein. However, since of late, we seem to be more concerned over grandiose decorations, how many lanterns we light or how many pandols (Thoran) or dansals we visit and we fail to notice that we go astray from the true reason behind Vesak celebrations. We have been focusing on a sense of pleasure obtained through materialistic indulgence while focusing on spiritual development has taken a back seat. It is not and has never been the correct way of celebrating Vesak.
Now that we are cooped up inside our homes, unable to go out, we should take some time to delve on the true aspect of Lord Buddha’s teachings. Even currently, the unpredictability and fragility of life plays out right before our very eyes. So let us make use of this time to focus on what truly matters, for we will be wealthy only in good deeds when we depart for the afterlife. Firstly, focus on yourself and develop your spiritual well-being. Whether it is meditation or observing sil, a period of less social contact could benefit you greatly. Your mind- burdened with the monotony and stress that life thrusts your way-would be able to take a break from all the impeding pressures and relax.
Secondly, this would provide a great opportunity for us to lend a hand to those in need. With day to day life coming to a brief halt, the economies for most people have taken a toll. Hence it is up to us to help them, within our means. After all, we Rotaractors stand for “Fellowship through Service”. This is the time when our service is much needed and now we have been put to the test.
Ultimately, these troubled times could create a lot of unrest in society. The restrictions that obstruct the normal lifestyle and feeling of insecurity that arises, could dampen one’s liveliness of the soul. It is up to us to spread not only love and joy but also the awareness on good, healthy habits. As figures entrusted with a sense of leadership, it should be us who take the message to society.
Let us be the guiding lights to a safer world once more, where we could celebrate Vesak in a righteous way, honouring Lord Buddha and his teachings. That is the way of a true Buddhist.
–Written by Rtr. Sachindra Mendis-