Michael Weldon describes Vesak as being as significant to Buddhists as Christmas is to Christians.
After all Vesak, which translates to May, was the month when Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and died more than 2,600 years ago.
Weldon, who is the coordinator of the Vesak Buddha’s Birthday Celebration event that happened Saturday (May 28) at Celebration Square, said Vesak is a joyous time for Buddhists and certainly a time for celebration.
And, celebrate they did with a parade, live performances, art, food and other entertainment. Smiles were on the lips of most of the people there as the strode through Celebration Square enjoying the sights and sounds of the festival.
The event was organized by three Buddhist temples and had representation from two – Theravāda and Mahayana – of the three major schools of Buddhism. The other is Vajrayana.
Part of the reason for the event, besides celebration, was to introduce the religion to those not familiar with Buddhism. There was a Buddhism 101 tent set up for anyone who wanted to learn more about the basics of the faith, its philosophy and its connection to the Canadian mosaic.
As well, there were monks and nuns at the event who were willing to chat with anyone who had a question. They also hosted tea ceremonies and calligraphy demonstrations for curious onlookers that are designed to clear and relax the mind.
“Buddhism is a question of reducing suffering through mental discipline, it’s peaceful and it seeks the truth, whatever that might be,” said Weldon when asked what a neophyte might want to know about Buddhism.