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Happy Vesak Day 2017! And a Mini-Story About Myself as a Buddhist

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Understanding. ๐Ÿ™‚ Picture from Real Buddha Quotes

Happy Vesak (or Wesak) Day 2017 to all Buddhists out there! Have fun and be happy. โค

To those who don’t celebrate Vesak Day and are curious to know:

The Vesak festival, or Buddha Day, celebrates three major events in the life of the Buddha: his birth, Enlightenment and passing away on the full moon of the 6th lunar month (May). It is the most important festival in the Buddhist lunar calendar.
Buddhist festivals are a time for joy. The give Buddhists an opportunity to meet together, to take the Three Refuges and learn more about the Buddha’s teachings. Families bring food, candles and flowers to the monks in the monasteries. In return, the monks chant the scriptures, lead a period of meditation and give teachings on the themes of the festival.
~From BuddhaNet: The Vesak Festival or Buddha Day

Here’s a random tidbit I don’t believe I’ve mentioned before โ€“ I’m a Buddhist! ๐Ÿ˜€

While I’m not a frequent temple-goer, I treat the Buddha’s teachings as a way of life, such as everything in moderation and be mindful of thoughts and actions. I also believe in karma (law of consequences), i.e. “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Once upon a time I used to attend Buddhist Sunday school and meditation classes, and volunteered at the temple on Vesak Day (yep, I was pretty active!). ๐Ÿ™‚

As I grew into late 20s and now early 30s and learned more about myself (especially about being an introvert), I’ve shied from going to the temple on Vesak Day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really fun at the temple on Vesak Day because it’s a full-blown festival โ€“ the whole street leading to the temple is decorated with flags, balloons and booths, and later in the evening there’s usually a street procession with a big decorated float! But that’s the problem; it’s reeeeeally crowded. Fun, but crowded. ๐Ÿ˜…

So what does this introverted Buddhist do on Vesak Day? Like most (if not all) introverts, I prefer to stay at home! Of course, I’m not just sitting at home and doing nothing, so below is what I did today. ๐Ÿ˜›

  1. Cleaned my mini-altar (which is really just the top of an extra dresser) โ€“ makes me feel new and fresh!
  2. Offered some things to the Buddha (more on that below)ย โ€“ not that I’m really offering these to the Buddha (He really doesn’t need them!); it’s to create positive energy by going into the right state of mind, with generosity and respect. ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. Remembered why I chose to believe in the teachings of the Buddha (by reading up on some articles on Buddhism) โ€“ because why not? ๐Ÿ˜›

Here’s what my mini-altar look like after all that:

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My Buddha mini-altar. โค

A brief explanation on each item on the mini-altar:

  • The Buddha statue: Actually this statue is considered pretty small, like 1-foot-high kind of small! I really like this particular statueย โ€“ I feel like the Buddha looks really kind and serene.ย ๐Ÿ™‚ It took a few trips to several Buddhist prayer shops (my parents were all too happy to bring me, thanks Mum and Dad!) to find it because all these statues are hand-crafted, and some of them can look pretty fierce! I’m still really happy with my statue, small though it is.ย ๐Ÿ˜€
  • Flowers: These symbolises impermanence; all things are impermanent, beautiful or not. It’s a reminder to be happy and thankful for the things we have now while they last. Plus I love the fragrance of the jasmine garland. ๐ŸŒธ
  • Candle: Light symbolises wisdom, dispelling the darkness of ignorance. These are supposedly apple-scented but I really can’t tell (I guess buying cheap candles weren’t a good idea after all ๐Ÿ˜…); I’m finishing these so that I can get a nicer one later. โ˜€
  • Incense: It symbolises the fragrance of good moral conduct. Also because I like the relaxing fragrance of the pine incense! I’d like to try sage, though it’s really hard to find it here. One day, hopefully. ๐Ÿ˜€
  • Water: It symbolises purity, clarity and calmness, a reminder to practice the Buddha’s teachings to cleanse our minds that are full of desire, ill-will and ignorance. ๐Ÿ’ง
  • Wooden cat statues: Although not the usual items put on an altar, I put them there because they were cute! (Also because I love cats. ๐Ÿ˜†) Hailing from Thailand, both cats form a heart shape with their paws, a reminder to be filled with love. โค
  • Chinese bride & groom figurines and a paper palanquin: My mum bought these for my wedding a couple of years ago! During weddings in ancient China, the bride is carried on a palanquin (in auspicious red colour), hence why the paper palanquin. It’s a reminder on the happiness I felt when I married my husband, plus they’re cute too. โค

Haha, I said this would be a mini-story, but I felt like it just became a full-blown story. ๐Ÿ˜†

Regardless of whether you celebrate Vesak Day or not, may you have a fun and joyful day today! ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ

~Nicolle โค

A Short Self-Compassionate Letter

Dear Self,

How wonderful of you to celebrate this day and remember why you follow the Buddha’s teachings. ๐ŸŒธ

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11 thoughts on “Happy Vesak Day 2017! And a Mini-Story About Myself as a Buddhist

  1. Nicolle,
    I’m not Buddhist, but I love learning about other cultures and religions. It sounds like a very peaceful religion. I learned a lot! I think every religion has some fundamental principles that we all share like charity, being kind, and trying to be your best self. Thanks for sharing! Happy Vesak Week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice altar Nicolle. Even Introverts (I class myself as one!) can go to monasteries and join in celebrations. Im lucky, I have one – Throssel Hole Abbey in the UK, only a 50mins car drive away!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much! Glad you like my mini-altar. ๐Ÿ˜€

      It’s been a couple of years, though I did join the celebrations at my local temple (pretty fun but tiring!) and even volunteered a couple of times, so no worries there; I just find that lately I prefer to go there when there aren’t 3 million people around… which isn’t Vesak Day. ๐Ÿ˜›

      50 minutes is a pretty far drive in my opinion! It’s great that you have the abbey to join in, I hope the traffic there isn’t as crazy there as it is near my temple on Vesak Day. ๐Ÿ˜†

      Like

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