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visakhapuja day
               Visakhapuja [vesak] means the worship of the Buddha on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month. It usually falls in May. In the case of a year with Adhikamasa [A year with an extra eighth lunar period] the Visakhapuja Day falls on the full moon day of the seventh lunar month.

         Visakhapuja is one oof the most important days in Buddhism because of three important indidents, i.e. the birth, the enlightenment, and the passing away of the Buddha. These three incidents miraduliusly fall on the same month and date. Each year on the Vesak full moon, throughout the world, Buddhist monks and laymen gather together to perform the worship in a very special way and to redollect the wisdom, purith, and compassion of the Buddha.

BIRTH

     The Buddha was aking by birth. His clan name was Gotama. He was born in the Sakya kingdom, eighty years before
the Buddhist Era, at Lumbini Park [now called Rummindei,in Nepal] tn the Middle Country [Madhyama Pradesa,
located between Kapilavastu, capital of the Sakya Kingdom, and Devadaha, capital of the Koliya Kingdom, on Friday,
the Besak full moon in the year of the dog.

        Prince Siddhattha [the Buddha's personal name] was the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Sirimahamaya. On his birthday, Queen Sirimahamaya who was pregnant, wanted to pay a visit to Devadaha which was her
native country.
         In the morning of the Vesak full moon, the Queen left Kapilavastu on a visti to Devadaha. Approaching a lovely park of Sal trees called Lumbini, Located between the two capitals but nearer to Devadaha, the Queen wanted to visit the park and when she arrived at a Sal tree she started contractions and gave birth to ason there. When the Kings of Kapilavastu and Devadaha learned of this, they were very happy and arranged a procession back to Kapilavastu.
   

ENLIGHTENMENT

         Prince Sddhattha was brought up in the midst of luxury, led the happy life of a privileged youth and married at the age of 16 to Princess Yasodhara or Bimba who bore him a son, Rahula.           He discontented and took on the life of a wandering ascetic at the bank of the Anoma River. He was then 29.                                                                                                               

         He studied the mystic practices of the foremost Brahmin ascetics and realized that such practices were not the way to enlightenment. He went on his own way applying the reflective thought of conscious meditation to a rational simple life of moderation.                 A          At the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment at Uruvelasenanigama subdistrict, Magadha State [nowadays, located in the area of Buddha Gaya, Bihar State, lndia] on Wednesday, the Vesak full moon of May, the year of the cock, forty five years before the Buddhist Era. 
          The Dharma discovered by the Buddha was Ariyasacca or the Four Noble Truths, namely:                                                                                                
          1. The Noble Truth of Suffering                                                         2.
          2. TheNobleTruth of the Origin of suffering       
          3. TheNobleTruth of the Extinction ofSuffering
          4. TheNobleTruth of the Path leading to the Extinction of  Suffering                             
          The four are called the Noble Truths.
         After having attained Enlightenment, the Buddha wandered from place to place teaching his discoveries to people who are accessible to instruction, helping large numbers of them achieve various levels of spiritual attainment. He sent his followers to spread Buddhism in capitals, cities,and upcountry, until Buddha was firmly established and widely spread.

PARINIBBANA [DEATH]

         The Buddha passed away on Tuesda, the Vesak full moon in the year of the smalll snake under the two Sal tree in the Sala Grove of the Mallas in Kusinara, capital of the Malla State [nowadays located in Kusinagara of Uttarapradesa,India] at the age of eighty.

         The performance of the rituals on Visakhapuja Day had been continuously observee in Jambudipa or India, the motherland of Buddhism, for aling tine before Buddhism spread to Thailand and Sri Lanka. There, the Visakha wouship has been continually observed to the present day.
         In Thailand Visakhapuja observance began during the Sukhothai period because of the close religious relations between Thailand and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka monks came to propagate Buddhism in Thailand and were highly respected. Thai monks also went to study in Sri Lanka. It is believed that in Thailand the Visakhapuja observances started during the Sukhothai period and it had been introduced by monks.
         In the book of the Royal Twelve-Month Rituals, written by King Rama V, the Visakhapuja observance was said to have been revived in the Ratanakosin period tn the year of the ox, B.E. 2360, in the reign of King Rama II. Under the abvice of Somdejphrasangharaja Mee [the Supreme Patriarch] the King revived the Visakha celebration.
         His Majesty King Prabuddhaleudlanaphalai [Rama II] declared the commemoration of the Visakhapuja though a Royal Decree. The King, himself observing the eight precepts, enjoined obstention from killing and the consumption of alcohod for three days. There were bright lights, flowers, joss stidks and candles, offerings as well as fireworks to celebrate the Visakhapuja for three days. In addition, people made a triple circumambulation around the Uposatha hall or a place of worship and listened to sermons. They also made merit, offered food to the monks, donated things to the poor, released animals and decorated lighhts in their house. These rituals have been observed ever since on the Vesak full moon day.
Activities to be observed on the Visakhapuja Day
  1.Offering food the monks and novices.                                         
 2.Going to temples for special observances and listening to Dharma preaching.
 
3.Keeping the Five or Eight  Precepts, including abstinence from alceholic drinks and all kinds of immoral acts.
 4.The Practice of meditation and mental discipline.
 5.The    Practice of renunciation for a number of days at the temple, wearing white robes.
6.Attending the triple circumambulation ceremony and other Buddhist activities.
7.Organizing exhibition of the history of the Visakhapuja Day.
8.Hoisting the flag on houses, temples and government offices.
The most important are making merit, giving donations, keeping the precepts and practising meditation.
   
Visakhapuja [Vesak] ia an International Day of the United Nations
         In 1999, the United Nation aas the Word Organization performing various activities accepted by the worldwide population has unanimously resolved to declare the Visakhapuja Day [Vesak Day] as an International Day on December 15, 1999f. This brings lots of joy to worldwide Buddhists including This and the Thai Government. Regarding this, the public sector, Sangha and people have unanimously held the Buddhist Promotion Week in the Vesak festival throughout the country.
   
The Dharma discoverd by the Buddha was Ariyasacca or the Four Noble Truths, namely
               1.The Noble Truth of Suffering.
               2.The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering.
               3.The Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering.
               4.The Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Extinction of Suffering.
               These four are called the Noble Truths.
 
 
 
 
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