Vesak Meditation Day 3rd May 2015

The Buddha and the offering of lights and candles on the shrine at the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Vesak Day, 3rd of May 2015.

Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage celebrated Vesak Day 2015 on Sunday, 3rd of May, the day that we remember the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha. Ten supporters came to the Hermitage a few days earlier to clean, polish and dust the shrine and the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. They also put up the traditional Vesak lanterns, Buddhist flags and lights to honour the Buddha and to celebrate this most important auspicious day in the Buddhist calendar.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni at the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on Vesak 3rd of May 2015.

The traditional Vesak Lanterns and lights at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage.

The traditional Vesak lanterns and lights at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage for the Vesak celebration 2015

About 23 lay supporters came and joined in the celebration on the Vesak Meditation Day. They took the Three Refuges and the Eight or Five Precepts, meditating and contemplating the Dhamma, the teaching of the Buddha. As the Buddha said in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta in Digha Nikaya, the best way to honour and pay respect to the Buddha is to practise the Dhamma.

The lights, lantern and flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage for Vesak celebration 2015.

The lights, lantern and flags at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage for the Vesak celebration 2015.

DIGHA NIKAYA – SUTTA 16 – MAHAPARINIBBANA SUTTA — THE GREAT PASSING–THE BUDDHA’S LAST DAYS

5.3. And the Lord said:’ Ananda, these sal-trees have burst forth into an abundance of untimely blossoms, which fell upon the Tathagata’s body, sprinkling it and covering it in homage. Divine coral-tree flowers fell from the sky, divine sandal-wood powder fell from the sky, sprinkling and covering the Tathagata’s body in homage. Divine music and song sound from the sky in homage to the Tathagatha. Never before has the Tathagata been so honoured, revered, esteemed, worshipped and adored. And yet, Ananda, whatever monk, nun, male or female lay-follower dwells practising the Dhamma properly, and perfectly fulfils the Dhamma-way, he or she honours the Tathagata, reveres and esteems him and pays him the supreme homage. Therefore, Ananda, ” We will dwell practising the Dhamma properly and perfectly fulfil the Dhamma-way”— this must be your watchword.’

The divine lights, lanterns and flags sparkling and twinkling at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage as if they were paying homage to the Buddha during the celebration of Vesak 2015.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni was lighting the candle to be offered to the Shrine for Vesak Day 3rd of May 2015

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni was lighting the candle to be offered to the Shrine for Vesak Day 3rd of May 2015

The Vesak Meditation Day started at 9.30am and finished at 5pm. The theme for Vesak Meditation Day was ‘Buddhanussati’ – ‘Recollection of the Buddha’. The theme was very appropriate as we paid respect and honour our Teacher, the Buddha. We offered lights and candles to the Buddha at the end of the Meditation Day. The light of wisdom of the Buddha is like the light in the dark that fills every corner of the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage. The light that enables us to see clearly.

Offering of lights at the end of Vesak Meditation Day at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2015.

Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni offering the lights at the end of the Vesak Meditation Day at Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage 2015.

I am going to share with you an interesting story. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and myself were driven by a non Buddhist, a student, to our appointment a few weeks ago. She was telling us about her studies and the use of the mindfulness technique in mental health. Then, suddenly, she turned around and asked us, ‘Do you guys do mindfulness?’

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and Bodhi Tree outside the Sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 2nd of May.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni and the Bodhi Tree outside the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on 2nd of May 2015.

I had been reflecting on the question of the student. Being Buddhist practitioners, ‘mindfulness practice’ is our profession. However, we do not ‘do mindfulness’. We take the Buddha as our teacher and we follow the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes morality, cultivation of mind and wisdom aspects. Mindfulness practice is one of the Noble Eightfold Path. We follow the Buddha’s teachings which lead us to peace and happiness here and now, and peace and happiness in the future. For those of us who would like to take the practise of the Noble Eightfold Path further, it can lead us to liberation and freedom, Nibbana.

As a Bhikkhuni, a Buddhist nun, I find the teaching and training instructed by the Buddha is liberating, freeing, inspiring, empowering, wise and full of compassion and loving kindness. When we are inspired to walk the Noble Eightfold Path, we are following in the footsteps of the Buddha. We are empowered in our capacity to be awaked in the way the Buddha was.

The following is one of the ‘Recollections of the Buddha’ that we used during the Vesak Meditation Day.

Recollection of the Buddha

Majjhima Nikaya- Sutta 56 Upali Sutta

He is the Wise One who has cast off delusion,
abandoned the heart’s wilderness, victor in battle;
He knows no anguish, is perfectly even-minded,
mature in virtue, of excellent wisdom;
Beyond all temptations, he is without stain:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

Freed from perplexity, he abides contented,
spurning worldly gains, a vessel of gladness;
A human being who has done the recluse’s duty,
a man who bears his final body;
He is utterly peerless and utterly spotless;
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He is free from doubt and skilful,
the discipliner and excellent leader.
None can surpass his resplendent qualities;
without hesitation, he is the illuminator;
Having severed conceit, he is the hero:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

The leader of the herd, he cannot be measured,
his depths are unfathomed, he attained to the silence,
Provider of safety, possessor of knowledge,
he stands in the Dhamma, inwardly restrained;
Having overcome all bondage, he is liberated:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

The immaculate tusker, living in remoteness,
with fetters all shattered, fully freed;
Skilled in discussion, imbued with wisdom,
his banner lowered, he no longer lusts;
Having tamed himself, he no more proliferates:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

The best of seers, with no deceptive schemes,
gained the triple knowledge, attained to holiness;
His heart cleansed, a master of discourse,
he lives ever tranquil, the finder of knowledge;
The first of all givers, he is ever capable:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He is the Noble One, developed in mind,
who has gained the goal and expounds the truth;
Endowed with mindfulness and penetrative insight,
he leans neither forwards nor back,
Free from perturbation, attained to mastery:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He has fared rightly and abides in meditation,
inwardly undefiled, in purity perfect;
He is independent and altogether fearless,
living secluded, attained to the summit;
Having crossed over himself, he leads us across:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

Of supreme serenity, with extensive wisdom,
a man of great wisdom, devoid of all greed;
He is the Tathagata, he is the Sublime One,
the person unrivalled, the one without equal;
He is intrepid, proficient in all:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He has severed craving and become the Enlightened One,
cleared of all fumes, completely untainted;
Most worthy of gifts, most mighty of spirits,
most perfect of persons, beyond estimation;
The greatest in grandeur, attained the peak of glory:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

Happy Vesak!

by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants in the sala of Patacara Bhikkhuni Hermitage on the Vesak Meditation Day 2015.

Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni, Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni and the participants of the Vesak Meditation Day 2015.

 

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