So yesterday was Vesak Day. For those of you who are wondering what Vesak Day is, you are not alone. I had no idea such a day or celebration existed until about a month ago. Vesak day is a ceremony to celebrate Buddha’s life, his birth, his enlightenment, and nirvana(passing away). It was a huge gathering of hundreds of people, hundreds of people with a common goal. The common goal is clearly written on their website. It reads: Our Vision- World Peace Through Inner Peace. Very small and simple words with huge meaning.
I went with my friend and as we were walking up to the ceremony we were greeted and given a bottle of water, a candle, a pen and a pamphlet describing the event. Then a very nice lady escorted us to the seating area. We approached these seats right up front which appeared to be reserved. They removed the reserved sticker then asked us to sit and enjoy. Never in my life have I gone anywhere and people simple gave me things without any expectation of payment in return. I have never been treated so kindly or taken care of so well and I have stayed at some top-notch resorts in my life. These people genuinely cared and really wanted to share their peace and love with us.
The ceremony was well orchestrated and went by very quick. There were many different groups of monks from five different countries. It was very hard to understand some of the people because english was definitely not their first language. But peace, love and respect do not need words. As the sun set and it started to get dark the candle lighting ceremony began. We all lit a small candle in our hands and followed the monks on a circular walk around the buddha statue. Then we all returned to our seats and began lighting the lanterns that were stationed next to our seats. It was quite an amazing and beautiful sight.
The ceremony came to an end and the monks got up and walked towards the middle of the event. They seemed to be mixing with the crowd. I was in shock. Here were these men and woman who we put our hands together and bowed to all day just mixing in with us regular people. As we begin to walk out one of the monk looks at me and says something in another language. He has a camera in his hand so I assume he wants me to take his picture. So I take the camera and he begins to speak broken english to me on instructions of what he is looking for. I take the first picture and he grabs the camera to review the picture. He does not like the way he looks because the flash made his glasses light up. So he laughs and removes his glasses. I take a second picture and this time the flash does not go off. He reviews the picture and asks me to take a third picture with the flash on. So I happily take his picture again. He seemed to be pleased and walked away. I was shocked that a buddhist monk made me take three different pictures of him because he didn’t look his best. We later joked that he needed a good default pic for his Facebook page. What this monk showed me is that we are all the same. We are all just people. Then I realized that maybe he wanted a picture to take back home and show everyone his experience. Then I got chills. The picture I took of this monk could be viewed by different people all over the world. It was my honor to take a picture of him before this thought entered my mind and now it is something I will remember the rest of my life.
We started walking down the driveway heading towards the car. Then I stop and notice we are not walking alone. We are not walking with the crowd. We are walking with the monks. To me they are higher beings than us, but that is not what it is about. We joked that we were following the monks to the party bus headed for the after party. In that moment I again realized that we are all the same. The monks are just people. They just happen to be special people. It was an amazing life changing experience that taught me we are all special in our own way and being special doesn’t mean you are perfect or better than any one. Peace, respect and love is out there for everyone. We are just looking in the wrong places. Look inside yourself and the search will end.
Link to Dhammakaya International Meditation Center:
I recommend clicking on Meditation for the Beginner. It is located on the right hand side of the website. Try some simple meditations and if it is something you like I hope you will share it with the people in your life. Like anything, it takes practice and patience.