Wesak festival and celebration
Posted 02/05/2012 11:10am
by Rev. Alina
It is a joy to prepare for our annual Wesak celebrations. This is the biggest festival in the Buddhist calendar, celebrated all over the Buddhist world in early May.
At the Priory we hold a festival on Sunday 6th. We decorate the meditation hall with flags and flowers, and set up a pavilion with a statue of the baby Buddha standing on lotuses in a pool of water. The festival involves any children who come, who lead the procession carrying lotus buds which they 'plant' in the water. They also help in the ceremonial, scattering petals and helping with the drums and gongs.
It is a celebration of joy and gratitude for the Buddha's birth and life and for all his teachings which help us to transform our lives, as He did Himself. We sing scriptures and process around the hall and pour water over the baby Buddha statue as we pass by the altar. Afterwards, gifts are given to the children and we all ring the bell.
There is a talk after with tea and then a social lunch and time to enjoy each others company for a relaxed afternoon together.
Buddhist practice can sometimes be seen to be hard work and challenging. Yes, it is at times and - as we are willing to give ourselves to it - we can discover a rich contentment in our lives, as we come to appreciate all that we have. The celebration is a teaching as well as a pleasure. By coming together, engaging with it, being a part of it, we enjoy and appreciate it.
We can come to see that joy and contentment are not inevitably connected with 'good' things happening (though fortunate situations do of course help a great deal). We can find contentment just is there, even joy, when we simply engage with life as it comes. This is a surprise, but then, don't you find in everyday situations how our attitude and approach to things so dramatically changes our experience?