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Vesak Day 2556 BE/2012 Ceremony at the Borobudur Temple

On Vesak Day 2556 BE/2012, which this year falls on Sunday, May 6, thousands of devotees will congregate at the

Vesak Day 2556 BE/2012 Ceremony at the Borobudur Temple

On Vesak Day 2556 BE/2012, which this year falls on Sunday, May 6, thousands of devotees will congregate at the Borobudur temple in Central Java – the world’s largest Buddhist monument – to take part in Buddhism’s holiest event.

Preceding the event on May 4, Buddhist monks fetch holy water from the pristine springs of Jumprit in the Temanggung district, which will then be kept in the small Mendut Temple near Borobudur.

The following day on May 5, is the ritual to ignite the Vesak torch, whose flames are taken from the natural eternal flames at Mrapen by the village of Grobogan, in the Purwodadi district in Central Java. Both the flame and holy water are then kept in the Mendut Temple, where this year the momentous seconds of Vesak will be commemorated.

For 2012, WALUBI (Perwakilan Umat Buddha Indonesia) or the Indonesian Buddhists Representatives Association, who leads the ceremony, has designated the theme of Vesak 2556 BE as: “Enhancing Metta and Karuna (Love and Compasion)” with a special address on “Enlightenment towards a wiser and more sensible person.”

Also known as Visakah Puja or Buddha Purnima in India, Visakha Bucha in Thailand and Waisak in Indonesia, the ceremony is globally known as Vesak, which is derived from the Pali Language: “Vesākha,” which has its origins in the ancient Sanskrit word: “Vaiśākha.”

Conducted annually during the full moon in the month of May or at the purnama sidhi, Vesak commemorates the three most important events in the life of Siddharta Gautama, known as the Tri Suci Waisak. The first important event is the birth of Prince Siddharta at the Lumbini Gardens in 623 BC. The second episode is the enlightenment (nirvāṇa) in which Prince Siddharta became the Buddha in Bodhgaya at the age of 35 in 588 BC, and the third is the passing away (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha at Kusinara at the age of 80 in 543 BC. Thus, Vesak is also known simply as Buddha’s day.

This year, the precise moment of Vesak is calculated to fall at 10:34:49 Western Indonesia Time. The ritual commemorating Vesak seconds will take place at Mendut Temple, which will be followed by the entire congregation journeying on foot to the Borobudur Temple. This takes roughly about 3 hours, from 1300 to 1600 hours Western Indonesia Time. The ceremony at the Borobudur Temple will commence from 1900 until 2100 hours Western Indonesia Time. As usual, rituals will be highlighted with the Pradaksina or walking three times around the Borobudur Temple and the release of over 1,000 Puja lanterns into the sky as a symbol of enlightenment for the entire universe.

During the ceremony, the management of the Borobudur Temple ensures that Borobudur will not be closed to the public. Visitors can still visit the temple, however, certain arrangements need to be made so as to maintain the solemnity of the ceremony, while visitors will also not feel disturbed.

For more information, visit: http://www.walubi.or.id/Waisak2012/waisak2556.shtml .

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