Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Happy Vesak Day 卫塞节 2017

Five temples to visit this Vesak Day 卫塞节

With temples located islandwide, options are aplenty if you’d like to join in the Vesak Day festivities, soak in the atmosphere and, perhaps, gain some peace.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum @ 288 South Bridge Road
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery @ 88 Bright Hill Road
Sri Lankaramaya Buddhist Temple @ 30C St Michael’s Road
Burmese Buddhist Temple @ 14 Tai Gin Road
Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple @ 50B Jalan Bukit Merah

Same same but different: Vesak Day in S’pore’s Buddhist temples

ACCORDING to a 2010 census report, about 33.3 per cent of all Singaporeans aged 15 and above are Buddhists; slightly over a million people. Buddhism is by far the most practised religion in the country, with Christianity in second place at 18 per cent and free thinkers at 17 per cent.

Originating from India, Buddhism began its spread in the first century CE to various places, creating three schools of Buddhism – Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana. Each possesses a unique set of practices. They were brought to Singapore by migrants from China and mainland Southeast Asia.

In Singapore, Vesak Day was officially made a public holiday in 1955, after petitions by Buddhists to make it a national holiday. It usually falls on the 15th day of the fourth month in the Chinese calendar, often during the month of May, and commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Gautama Buddha.

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Buddha's Birthday
A statue of the child Gautama Buddha as depicted in his apocryphal story of birth

Buddha's Birthday (Fó Dàn Rì 佛诞日 {Simplified} 佛誕日 {Traditional} is a holiday traditionally celebrated in Mahayana Buddhism to commemorate the birth of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, later the Gautama Buddha and founder of Buddhism. According to the Theravada Tripitaka scriptures (from Pali, meaning "three baskets"), Gautama was born in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal, around the year 563 BCE, and raised in Kapilavastu.

The exact date of Buddha's Birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendars and is primarily celebrated in Baisakh month of the Buddhist calendar and the Bikram Sambat Hindu calendar, and hence it is also called Vesak. In Nepal, which is considered the birth-country of Buddha, it is celebrated on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Buddhist calendar.

In China, Hong Kong and Korea, it is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. In Nepal and neighboring South Asian and Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), Buddha's birthday Vesak Day (韦塞节) is celebrated on the 15th day of 4th lunar month.

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