One of the highlights of Nalanda’s annual Wesak celebration is the peaceful ‘Heritage Procession’ in the evening of ‘Buddha Day’. This year’s procession was themed “One step, one wholesome thought – 2,558 steps to spiritual progress!” to mark the Buddhist Era 2558.
Nalanda’s traditional ‘Buddharupa-Abhisekara’ is a truly unique cultural and spiritual experience. It is the original one in Malaysia where the Buddharupam is conveyed on a wooden sedan by 12 traditionally dressed devotees, to the harmonious beating of drums and gongs. Beautifully hand-crafted parasols and paraphernalia are carried by devotees holding candle-lights.
The legacy of processions dates back to the time of Emperor Asoka of the Mauryan Dynasty in the 3rd Century BCE. He initiated the custom of parading through villages in customary attire, and conveying Buddhist icons on a carriage, pausing intermittently for devotees to come closer and learn more about the Buddha’s teachings.
Perhaps due to the pleasant weather, last night’s procession was the largest ever held in Sri Serdang, with an estimated 2,300 participants completing the 1.6km route with serenity and grace. It was indeed a tranquil and mindful walk for the devotees, as families and groups of friends stepped in tune with Dhamma, steep in quiet reflection and an air of spirituality.