Vesak is when Buddhists in Shepparton and across Australia come together and recollect the Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing. Vesak is an international celebration and listed among UN Observances. Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest philosophies of non-violence and has practiced peaceful relations for over 2600 years. In this day and age, Buddhism continues fostering of world peace. For the eighth year, The Buddhist Association of the Goulburn Valley will be celebrating Vesak Festival in Shepparton on Saturday 13th of May 2023 from 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm at the Queen’s Gardens.
At Vesak Buddhists commemorate the birth of the Buddha-to-be, Siddhattha Gautama, his Enlightenment at the age of 35 when he became the Buddha and his final ‘passing‘ into Nirvana at the age of 80, no more to be reborn. Buddhist scriptures tell us that each of these three significant events occurred on a full moon of the Indian lunar month of Vaisakha – pronounced Vesakha. Hence, the festival is called Wesak or Vesak.
Traditionally, the Buddha’s birth is supposed to have been in 623 BC but the Buddhist calendar is counted from his final passing, eighty years later. The older tradition of Vesak is to celebrate all three events but there are some more recent Buddhist schools and groups that celebrate just the birth and others only the Enlightenment.
This is a multicultural observance of Vesak provided by the Buddhist Community of the Goulburn Valley. These come from many South East Asian nations and from many traditions and forms of Buddhist practice. Some are Burmese, some Cambodian, some Chinese, others have come here from India and Japan. Still there are those who have settled here from Korea, Malaysia, Mongolian, Thailand, Tibetan, Sri Lanka, Taiwanese and Vietnamese communities. Leaders from Shepparton’s Buddhist community – along with members of the Shepparton Interfaith Network – will also join in the commemoration as the Vesak message of peace is echoed in every faith.
Vesak will be observed in Queens Park, Shepparton, and has been sponsored by the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District, the City of Greater Shepparton, People Supporting People and the Shepparton Interfaith Network.
Making Vesak Lanterns
If you would like to have a go at making your own Vesak lantern to hang in the gardens for the celebration, instructions are at this link http://studentlanka.com/2014/05/01/how-to-make-a-vesak-wesak-lantern-kudu-best-10-tutorials/
To hang your lantern in the Queens Gardens you will need to come down to the gardens (Crn of Wyndham St & Nixon St Shepparton) between 2:30pm and 4:00pm on Saturday 18 May — to have them hung.
What: Vesak Celebration
When: Saturday, 13 May from 4 PM
Where: Queens Gardens – Cnr Wyndham St & Nixon St Shepparton
More Information: Sam Atukorala, 5831 2395
Download a Flyer for this event
Typically, devout Buddhists will assemble at a temple or gompa before dawn for ceremonies and honouring of the Holy Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) and the Sangha (the Buddhist disciples and followers). Traditional offerings of flowers, water, incense are laid at the feet of the Buddha. On this day, there can be no killing of any kind if possible, and most eat only vegetarian food for the day. Even if the devout Buddhist is a lay practitioner, on days such as Wesak, we typically observe the eight Precepts as training in morality and humility, rather than just the five lay precepts:
1. I undertake to abstain from causing harm and taking life of any kind/
2. I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given.
3. I undertake to abstain from sexual misconduct.
4. I undertake to abstain from wrong speech: telling lies, deceiving others, manipulating others, using hurtful words.
5. I undertake to abstain from using intoxicating drinks and drugs, which lead to carelessness.
The additional precepts on Wesak and other special ceremonial days (or for non-lay practitioners all the time) are:
6. I undertake to abstain from eating at the wrong time—the correct time is after sunrise but before noon.
7. I undertake to abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands or decorations.
8. I undertake to abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping, and overindulging in sleep.