On Sunday 15 May, the Head of Department at Nalanda Institute Bro. Tong Siong Yeow, gave a talk on the ‘True Significance of Wesak’. It was a timely reminder of what the celebration of ‘Buddha Day’, which fell on 21 May, actually means.
‘Buddha Day’ falls on the full-moon day of May (Vesakha month); it is to commemorate three important events in the Buddha’s life – His birth, Enlightenment, and Passing away (Pāli, Parinibbāna). Bro. Tong shared stories which highlighted the 10 perfections achieved by the Blessed One, namely, Generosity, Morality, Renunciation, Wisdom, Effort, Patience, Truthfulness, Determination, Compassion, and Equanimity – qualities which we must emulate and cultivate to liberate ourselves from suffering.
After the Buddha’s Enlightenment, He taught the keystone of Dhamma – the Four Noble Truths – to his first 5 disciples. He proceeded to teach for another 45 years before his Parinibbāna. Just before his passing, the Buddha made it known to His disciples that there would be no successor after Him, and that the Dhamma and Vinaya will be their guide.
The theme of this year’s Wesak celebration at Nalanda is ‘A Life of Wisdom’. We need wisdom to conquer life’s difficulties, and to realise the true nature of things – that is to discern the good from bad, spiritually skillful from unskillful, and wholesome from unwholesome qualities.
The way we can grow in wisdom is through associating with wise persons and spiritual friends; listening to and learning Dhamma, as well as practice and cultivation. We thank Bro. Tong for his timely and thought-provoking sharing. Sadhu anumodana.