Happy Wesak Day: In Honour of the Buddha
Today is Wesak Day in Malaysia. It is a national holiday that honours the birth, the enlightenment, and achievement of Nirvana by the Buddha. Although Malaysia is officially a Muslim country, it acknowledges its diversity by having the major religious festivals of its religious minorities celebrated with national holidays.
The process most associated with Buddhism is enlightenment through detachment. Much of what we know about meditation has been learned through the practice of Buddhist monks. It really was not until the later part of the 20th Century that people of the West began to learn more about these processes. Western material values are based upon how fast something can get done. If you have to wait for your morning coffee for more than 5 minutes, it is like an eternity to many people. Life is about rushing. This is because of the mistaken idea that material comfort is equal to heaven.
This symbol is used in many Buddhist temples as the sign of life. It is not the Nazi swatiska which was actually taken from the East and then turned around and used as a symbol of material power. This represents the 4 cardinal directions as in the medicine wheel in North American aboriginal culture or as in Christianity, the mind, the spirit, the heart and the strength(body or earth). Here it is beautifully displayed in a garden representing the many aspects of spirituality that we need to actualize in our life like courage, love, determination, compassion, honesty, and purity.
Many temples in Angkor in Cambodia have feminine representations of divine power. In the West we grow up believing that God is a man who lives in the sky with a big white beard, but the images of spirituality are often feminine in the Buddhists temples. Apsara is shown with having many different ways her hair is worn. Since hair is considered empowerment in a metaphoric sense and in dreams, the many ways a woman hair is worn represents all of the many qualities that one can use in the world to do positive things. That is what it means to me.
This ancient temple had special meditation rooms where when you pound on your heart you can hear it resonate throughout the room. This shows to what lengths the Buddhists monks went to in order to hear the inner world of one’s heart.
In honour of Buddha and what He accomplished in the world it would be a good day to have some reflection time about how to create a more peaceful world inside of ourselves.