United Nations Day of Vesak | Perth | 2016

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Celebrating the birth and awakening of the Buddha

Come and join and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment and fun! Free Meditation Sessions!

Saturday May 7
1 – 5 pm

Migrant Pavilion,
Ozone Reserve, East Perth

“For Buddhists everywhere it is indeed a felicitous opportunity while commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Gautama Buddha, to celebrate his message of compassion and devotion to the service of humanity. “

Peace, Compassion, and Wisdom

(adjacent to Adelaide Terrace, near causeway entrance, click to view)

Meditation / Cultural entertainment / Dancing / Chanting / Pictorial Display etc.
Information and explanations about Buddhist meditation and where you can find it.

BBQs available for picnics. Snacks and drinks available.

Parking: Plain Street Cark Park and many other street side parking on Adelaide Terrace and Plain Street.

enquiries: info@bcwa.org.au

Supported by Office of Multicultural Interests WA

Migrant Pavillon, Ozone Reserve, Perth

Migrant Pavilion, Ozone Reserve, Perth

 

Come and Join us – Volunteers welcome 

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What is Vesak?

Sometimes informally called “Buddha’s birthday”, Vesak Day is regarded by all Buddhist traditions as the anniversary of the birth of the Buddha. Some traditions regard it as a time to also commemorate the enlightenment and passing of the Buddha.

The exact date each year varies according to the lunar calendars used in different traditions.

Buddhists observe the occasion in a variety of ways – meditation and prayer, observing precepts (no killing, no stealing, no lying, no sexual misconduct, no intoxicants, etc.), fasting, partaking of vegetarian food, giving to charity, and “bathing” of the baby Buddha ceremonies.

Celebrating Vesak also means making special efforts to bring happiness to the unfortunate like the aged, the handicapped and the sick.

While this day has been celebrated for many centuries in Asian cultures, it was only in 1950 that it was formally recognised at the first Conference of the World Fellowships of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka.

 

About United Nations Day of Vesak

In November 1998, at the International Buddhist Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, all member countries unanimously expressed the intention to gain International Recognition for the Day of Vesak, a symbol of the birth of Buddhism.

United Nations representatives of the following Buddhist countries : Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, proposed to the UN General Assembly to adopt the resolution for the international Recognition of the Day of Vesak.

On 15 December 1999, the Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly at its 54th session considered the agenda item 174 and adopted the draft resolution for the International Recognition of the Day of Vesak and for the appropriate arrangements for its observance at the UN Headquarters and other offices of the UN.  34 countries sponsored the draft resolution.

Since the year 2000, on the most auspicious full-moon day of the month of May, the Day of Vesak, countries having Buddhist citizens have joined in this commemorative event of the UN.

 

“For Buddhists everywhere it is indeed a felicitous opportunity while commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Gautama Buddha, to celebrate his message of compassion and devotion to the service of humanity. “

 

Peace, Compassion and Wisdom


PROGRAMME

1.00pm Arrival Sangha/VIP/guests MC: Marlene Robins
1.15pm National Anthem Sri Lanka Vihara
1.30pm Happy Vesak Day song
Sri Lanka Vihara
1.35pm Official opening   Kevin Dickson BCWA president
2pm Speeches Ajahn Brahmavamso TheroEleni Evangel MLA representing the Premier, Colin Barnett MLA and the Treasurer Hon. Dr Mike Nahan.

Margaret Quirk MLA (representing the Leader of the Opposition Mark McGowan)

Cliff Morris representing Men of Trees organisation

Rebecca Ball Office of Multicultural Interests

2.45pm Meditation in tent Diamond Way Buddhist Center
3.00pm Chanting Sri Lanka Vihara
3.15pm Cultural presentation Indonesian
3.30pm Cultural presentation Sri Lankan Dancers
3.45pm Meditation in tent Buddhist Society of WA
3.45pm Cultural presentation Thai
4.00pm Cultural presentation Indonesian
4.15pm Meditation in tent Hayagriva Buddhist Centre
4.30pm Cultural presentation Thai
4.45pm Closing Item “Imagine” by Rick Steel
5.00pm Close

The Life of the Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born in the town of Lumbini, then in northern India, now Nepal,  around the year 567 BCE. His father was leader of the Sakya clan and a King, and his Mother, Queen Mayadevi.

There are many stories in the scriptures about auspicious signs before and after  Siddhartha’s birth, which indicated that he was indeed, a special being.

Shortly after his birth, a Brahman seer visited his father, King Suddhodana. The wise man said that Siddhartha would either become a great king (chakravartin) or a holy man (sadhu) based on whether he saw ordinary suffering in life outside of the palace walls.

Determined to make Siddhartha a king, Suddhodana shielded his son from the unpleasant realities of old age, sickness, death, and loss. The young Siddhartha grew up in a very privileged manner and received the best education in every field including the warriors arts. In adulthood, Siddhartha married Yasodhara, with whom he had a son, Rahula, who later became a Buddhist monk.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha ventured outside the palace complex several times, despite his father’s wishes. As a result, he discovered the suffering of his people through encounters with an old man, a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. These are known among Buddhists as “The Four Sights”, one of the first contemplations of Siddhartha.

The Four Sights eventually prompted Gautama to abandon royal life and take up a spiritual quest to free himself from suffering by living the life of a mendicant ascetic which was a respectable spiritual practice at the time. He found companions with similar spiritual goals and the best teachers of the day. With each teacher, Buddha quickly realised the teachings they had but was not satisfied, knowing they could not guide him to the deeper states he knew were possible. Hence, he would move on until he was practicing extremely severe forms of asceticism with a small group of yogis.

One day, after almost starving to death, Gautama accepted a little milk and rice from a village girl named Sujata. After this experience, he concluded that ascetic practices such as fasting, holding one’s breath, and exposure to pain brought little spiritual benefit. He abandoned asceticism, concentrating instead on meditation, thereby discovering what Buddhists call the Middle Way, a path of moderation between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.

After discovering the Middle Way, he sat under a sacred fig tree, also known as the Bodhi tree, in the town of Bodh Gaya, India, and vowed not to rise before achieving Nirvana.

After many days of meditation, he attained his goal of full awakening of every potential, or Buddhahood. He was 35 years of age.

Buddha literally means; one who is fully awake. After his spiritual awakening he soon attracted students who wanted to be like him, and, wandering and teaching, began his 45 years of sharing the Dharma. Like a master physician, he gave each student precisely the teaching they needed to reach their potential.  Eventually, the followers were so many, both male and female, that the need arose to establish a monastic order, and Buddha gave a code of behaviour for those who chose the monastic way.

Shakyamuni Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma, travelling throughout the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent. He died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India.

It is worth remembering that this time in India was a great flowering of intellectual and spiritual development, similar to what was happening in Greece at the time. There were many very developed practitioners of the various yoga traditions and great thinkers.

When Siddhartha attained the highest realisation or full Buddhahood, there was no one else in the world to have attained that state. This made him totally unique and he had a great many very advanced students, many of whom Buddha brought to full realisation.

Buddha was also unique in that he never proclaimed himself as a divine being, but taught that all beings who have a mind have the same seed of Buddhahood as he had himself.

When asked what it was that he taught, Buddha replied, “I teach the way things are.”