Vesak is a holiday commemorating the birth, enlightenment and parinirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni. For many years we have been celebrating it together with other Buddhist groups. According to most Buddhist traditions it falls on a full moon day in the fourth month of the lunar calendar, but due to practical reasons we agreed to organize the celebration on Sunday closest to the actual date.
Not only is celebrating together a formal Buddhist holiday, but also it is a great opportunity to get to know practitioners from different traditions. As the holiday is connected with the birth of Buddha and usually falls around Children’s Day, following the Japanese tradition, we try to give it a family character with some special amusements for children.
The event is held by members of Polish Buddhist Union. For example, in 2015 it took place at the Zen School “Szkoła Zen KWAN UM w Polsce” and in 2016 and 2017 at the Benchen Karma Kamtsang Centre in Grabnik.
This year the event will take place on Sunday, 10th June at the Związek Buddystów Zen BODHIDHARMA, Filmowa 32, Warszawa (see: How to get there). The celebration will start at noon.
Traditionally we start with the recitation of Heart Sutra, meditation and short speeches by the representatives of particular sanghas.
After that the ceremony of pouring tea on Buddha statue takes place. The statue depicts Buddha as a new born child. It is said that immediately after birth the baby walked seven steps and at each step a lotus flower appeared on the ground. Then he stopped, pointed the sky with the finger of one hand and the earth with the other and said:
“Eldest am I in the world,
Foremost am I in the world.
This is the last birth.
There is now no more coming to be.”
After religious ceremonies, the informal part starts: it includes a vegetarian meal, artistic performances, social meetings and fun.