Since we’ve been here, we’ve already had 3 days off for public holidays. We had Good Friday, Labor Day and now Vesak Day. I doubt you’re asking what’s Good Friday, but Vesak Day on the other hand, may be a new one to most of you, as it was for us.
A little help from the internet:
Vesak Day is the most significant day of the year in the Buddhist calendar and is celebrated by Buddhists the world over. The day commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha and is a day of immense joy, peace and reflection. In Singapore, Vesak Day usually falls in the month of May, on the 15th day of the fourth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
Lucky for us one of the places to experience Vesak Day is the Buddha Tooth Temple, located just down the street from us. We headed down to see the proceedings. It was not quite as solemn as I would have liked. With some many people they kind of just went thru the motions I thought. You que up to wash the Buddha, then a temple staff member politely asks you to move on. Wash, move.
Then you que to receive your blessing. A Monk touches your head with a gold artifact, you step to the left, drop your money, get blessed on each shoulder and the head by another monk, receive a gift bag, and are politely moved along by another temple staff. Blessed, move. It had a factory procession feeling to it.
Within the temple on both sides are HUGE walls of different Buddha’s with offerings bowls. People were again just going thru quickly, press hands, bow three times, drop in money, move to next Buddha. I guess movies and TV lead me to believe it was a slow, spiritual religion, but the part I saw today was just like any other. I guess if you had to put up offerings to the gazillion or so Buddhas lining the walls, you might want to get on with it too…..
But still, it was interesting to see. We have been there before when the monks were chanting and it was quite nice. The details in the carvings and the way each Buddha is different is quite the work of art.