Vesak more meaningful than ever | Sunday Observer

Vesak more meaningful than ever

23 May, 2021
(Pic: Mahil Wijesinghe)
(Pic: Mahil Wijesinghe)

“This is the best environment to focus on inward illuminations than outward show and illuminate our own lives cultivating the great human qualities we have missed from our lives.”

Vesak is due shortly and it is the 2065th anniversary of the Buddha Jayanthi.

It is a unique festival as three key factors pertaining to the life of the Buddha, namely, the birth, the enlightenment at the age of thirty-five, and the death at the age of eighty took place on Vesak full moon days.

The Buddha was not a supernatural being and he never claimed to be so. He was born to a royal family as the only son and completed his childhood successfully, accomplished his studies and entered into marriage and became the father of a son.

It was only then that he left the palace secretly in search of a path to stop the suffering of human beings through birth, sickness, and death. It was his utmost commitment that led to the all-knowing enlightenment that we as ordinary human beings are unable to fathom.

‘Buddha’ means ‘the awakened one’. The Buddha proclaimed “I teach the way out of suffering” and taught the law of Karma explaining that we ourselves create our own suffering by our actions and we ourselves could reduce suffering by our own actions and liberate ourselves from rebirth.

Freeing from rebirth

Forty-five years of the Buddha’s life was entirely spent on teaching the people the doctrine of freeing oneself from rebirth and educating people how to live a blissful life with good health and to do good in the human life we have gained.

He explained how difficult it is to gain a human life and taught how it could be used for the betterment of individuals and others.

The Buddha taught that the happiness human beings normally seek is always subject to the law of change and impermanence and explained and taught how the five sensing points in human beings, namely, eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body create the attachments leading to greed, anger, lust and all evils. The doctrine was explained through the ‘The Four Nobel Truths 1). The noble truth of suffering 2) the noble truth of the origin of the suffering 3) the noble truth of cessation of the suffering 4) the way to the cessation of the suffering.

The Eightfold Noble truths

He showed an uncomplicated simple path to liberation through a life of following the ‘Eightfold noble truths’ to be followed. All these eight steps can easily be practiced in day-to-day life by any person deciding to do so. They are 1) right view of life 2) right thought 3) right speech, 4) right action 5) right livelihood 6) right effort ,7) right mindfulness, 8) right concentration.

Turn inward

Through this vision of a meaningful life one is sure to enjoy a blissful heavenly life in this world and beyond.

Vesak in Sri Lanka where a majority of the population are Buddhists it is generally known as a festival of illuminations. With the Covid-19 pandemic we are living in an environment showing us the nature of life and which has enforced restrictions around us.

The word ‘Lockdown’ is used to explain the situation. This is the best environment to focus on inward illuminations than outward show and illuminate our own lives cultivating the great human qualities we have missed from our lives. May Vesak help us to fill our minds with compassion and kindness and love and reduce the greed and the lust and ego that pollute our minds. Express kindness to all beings and to nature which protect our lives providing us sunlight, water, food and t fresh air and live a life merging with nature.