Saturday, May 5, 2012

Buddha's Birthday

I have searched many sources for Gautama Buddha's birth year. According to most historians and researchers of Buddhism, the dates range between 624 BC to 563 BC. Thailand uses Buddha's birth year as a reference for all official internal purposes including automobile registrations. May 5, 2012, the day celebrated as Vesak, marks the beginning of Year 2556. This would make Buddha's birth year 544 BC.

We commonly use the word enlightenment in describing a personal feeling of success, or some form of revelation that brings joy and happiness. This could be success in achieving some desired or unexpected result in engineering, science or in mathematics. But is this truly enlightenment? I suppose not. So what is enlightenment? 

The path towards seeking peace of mind, a state of mind called Nirvana, takes on many forms. One needs to encounter events that cause enlightenment. What it is, is unknown and cannot be described. But what it is, must be experienced and understood. The meaning and purpose of each event in our daily lives must be felt, experienced and understood. 

My meeting with Nun Bach at the Truc Lam Zen Buddhist monastery in Da Lat was enlightening. I can say this only to share my feeling of reaching a state of mind -- a state for thoughtful expression and creative thinking. Her thoughts were expressed beautifully. She made me think deeper than I had before. 

The discovery of the Buddha form on the Moon has given me the inspiration to dig deeper into the life of Buddha. I have thought incessantly for the meaning and purpose of the existence for such an image on the Moon. This is a challenge I have taken on by my own accord. 

Here are some pictures from the Truc Lam Zen Buddhist monastery taken on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Main entrance

Dress code
Chanting in Main Hall

Monks leaving the Main Hall after ceremonies

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