Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dhammaya, Namo Sanghaya.
On this auspicious ‘Buddha Day’ of the Buddhist Era 2565, we extend our greetings to respected members of the Māha Sangha, brothers and sisters in Dhamma. Today is the Full-moon Day of Vesakhā month. Buddhists worldwide celebrate the thrice-sacred Buddha Day to commemorate the Birth, Enlightenment, and Passing of Buddha Gotama. In this holy month, it is also timely for us to reflect on our existence by reviewing the past, assessing the present and planning a future course of action towards a more meaningful, peaceful, and happy life.
This year we have much to reflect upon, both as individuals as well as members of a community. For more than a year now, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the world so drastically that this period deserves to be designated as the “Year of Covid” to set it apart from any other year in human history. What makes this period so unique?
Humans have endured great calamities in the past, caused in part by nature, and in part by our own greed, aversion and ignorance. But where previous calamities were confined to specific areas of the globe, the Covid pandemic is affecting every single human being, in one way or another. It has established the inter-connectedness of humans on a scale never before experienced, at any other time in history.
The human race is engulfed by an all-pervading sense of fear and uncertainty, caused by an unseen enemy which seems to be one step ahead of what modern science could come up with to battle it. But while the fear is understandable, we should not allow it to stop us from thinking rationally and organising our lives to live in peace and serenity within ourselves, and also with those around us. We should be steadfast like the solid rock which remains unshaken by the wind.
The theme for this year’s Buddha Day is “Moving Forward with Courage and Hope”. The Buddha teaches us that one fundamental truth of existence is the reality of impermanence. While impermanence and change can make us anxious, it has a positive aspect as well, in that undesirable states will also inevitably go away. We take comfort in this truth and assure ourselves that these difficult times will surely pass. We move forward and prepare for opportunities with right understanding and positive thinking.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity and desperation, we look forward with hope knowing that human ingenuity has always found ways to overcome challenges. Along with hope, we must acknowledge that anyone who is faced with a challenge and strives to overcome it, does so with courage. In the Bodhisatta’s countless lifetimes, ‘Mārā’ attempted to divert him from his goal of enlightenment. His immeasurable courage and determination defeated them, and He emerged victorious.
As broader challenges continue to confront our world today, we need more compassionate and resilient people to step forward, to serve beyond our own needs and comfort. We must renew our commitment and act in unison so that we will succeed in tackling the great challenges of our era.
Brothers and sisters in Dhamma, let us on this sacred Buddha day be determined to leave the past behind, and without regrets move forward with courage and hope for the common good and betterment of all beings. In that spirit, we wish you a meaningful Wesak Observance this year. May you & your loved ones be well, happy and peaceful!
Happy Buddha Day!