Trivia about the Vesak Day in the Philippines
VESAK DAY is a day of great significance not only to Buddhists but also to advocates of peace, compassion and unity. This day falls on the day of the full moon on the month of May each year and marks three important events in the life Gautama Buddha. It is the day of His Birth (583 B.C.); it was on this day that He subsequently gaineq Enlightenment; and it was also on this day that He entered Parinirvana (the passing away of Buddha’s physical body).
Siddharta Gautama, more widely known as the Buddha, lived and preached from 563 B.C. to 480 B.C. in northern India, making Buddhism one of the oldest religions and philosophies of mankind. His life and teachings have had a significant impact on other religions, philosophies, morality and ways of life, beginning in Asia and spreading across the other continents.
The teachings of Buddhism are considered to be universal in nature. Buddhism propagates moderation in one’s life, non-violence, peaceful coexistence, and consistent practice of compassion, goodwill and loving-kindness. It teaches us to safeguard and preserve resources and the natural environment as a means to respect the lives of all beings.
In recognition of the above, the United Nations in 1999, with the support of 80 member nations including the Philippines, signed United Nations Resolution No. N54/115 titled “An International Recognition Day of the Vesak”. The resolution called for the annual observance and celebration of the Day of Vesak in all United Nations Headquarters worldwide. In the same spirit, our very own President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 29, 2001, through the initiative of the Universal Wisdom Foundation, signed Proclamation No. 24 declaring the full moon day of May every year as Vesak Day in the Philippines. These recognitions illustrate the universality of Buddhism that has withstood changes throughout time as aptly expressed by the great scientist Albert Einstein when he said, “If there is one religion that can cope with modern scientific techniques, that is Buddhism.”