Vesak Bochea Day, also known as Buddha Day, is one of the most important ceremonies for Buddhists throughout the world. The day commemorates the birthenlightenment and nirvana of Siddharta Gautama Shakyamuni Buddha. Vesak Bochea is a holy day traditionally observed by Buddhist followers in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and the South East Asian countries including Cambodia. The day is considered as a time when Buddhists pay gratitude to the Lord Buddha who had rationalized followers around the world through his wisdom and teachings of the Dharma. Buddha’s teachings are valued as a life’s guide, and Buddhists celebrate Vesak Bochea by leading noble lives, showing kindness and bringing peace and harmony to humanity. Celebrating Vesak Bochea means making an effort to bring happiness to the unfortunate, including the aged and the handicapped by donating food, money or gifts.

For Cambodian Buddhists, Vesak Bochea day is traditionally spent at the pagodas meditating, chanting and listening to monks reciting Buddha’s verses and teachings. Many may also bring supplies such as food, candles, and flowers to offer monks at the temple. You will also get to see monk processions followed by people of all ages holding candles, incense sticks, and lotus flowers in hands. The procession symbolizes an offer of their blessings to Lord Buddha. Hundreds of monks from pagodas over the country are also invited to the food-offering ceremony since it is believed as a way for people to gain merit for their present life as well as the next life. Since Buddhism is a state religion, the religious day of Vesak Bochea is always presided by high-ranking officials in the royal government with hundreds of devout Buddhists.

Food-offering ceremony on Vesak Bochea Day by Samdech Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly of Cambodia

Vesak Bochea is normally celebrated on the full moon of Vesākha month of the Buddhist calendar as it represents the same day that Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, and passed into nirvana. The date of the ceremony may vary from year to year, but it usually takes place in April or May. This year, Vesak Bochea falls on May 29, 2018, which marks the Buddhist calendar year 2,562.

Some Inspirational Quotes from Gautama Buddha

The mind is everything. What you think you become. We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

Do not learn how to react, learn how to respond.

Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, and faithfulness is the best relationship.

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.

If you know any other Buddha quote that could potentially inspire someone’s life, please feel free to share it in the comment below.

May Vesak Bochea be a blessing day to every one!

(All photos are sourced from Google images)