Temples, monasteries mark Vesak Day

Devotees yesterday performed various rituals, such as "bathing the Buddha" in remembrance of his birth, at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Bright Hill Road, near Bishan, and the "three steps, one bow" rite at Bukit Gombak Stadium (left). In
Devotees yesterday performed various rituals, such as "bathing the Buddha" in remembrance of his birth, at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Bright Hill Road, near Bishan, and the "three steps, one bow" rite at Bukit Gombak Stadium (above). In this ritual, the devotees took three steps and then prostrated, repeating the process around the perimeter of the venue. Each procession took two to three hours. This ritual is done in repentance and in reverence for the founder of Buddhism.PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Devotees yesterday performed various rituals, such as "bathing the Buddha" in remembrance of his birth, at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Bright Hill Road, near Bishan, and the "three steps, one bow" rite at Bukit Gombak Stadium (left). In
Devotees yesterday performed various rituals, such as "bathing the Buddha" (above) in remembrance of his birth, at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Bright Hill Road, near Bishan, and the "three steps, one bow" rite at Bukit Gombak Stadium. In this ritual, the devotees took three steps and then prostrated, repeating the process around the perimeter of the venue. Each procession took two to three hours. This ritual is done in repentance and in reverence for the founder of Buddhism.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Devotees hold rituals and commemorative events on eve of Buddhist celebration

On the eve of Vesak Day yesterday, temples and monasteries all over Singapore held various rituals and commemorative events to celebrate the occasion, which marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.

At the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery in Bright Hill Road, as well as another Vesak Day event at Bukit Gombak Stadium, thousands of devotees turned up in the evening to perform the "three steps, one bow" rite, a long procession done in repentance and in reverence for the founder of Buddhism.

Adherents performing the ritual took three steps and then prostrated, repeating the process around the perimeter of the venue. Each procession took two to three hours.

Worshippers at Bukit Gombak Stadium also "bathed the Buddha" in remembrance of his birth. According to Buddhist lore, Prince Siddhartha was rained on by nine dragons from heaven, signifying that someone special had been born.

At the BW Monastery in Woodlands, devotees turned up in the morning to view and pay homage to its keepsakes - relics of Buddha's collarbone that date back 2,300 years.

They are exhibited only once a year, during the monastery's annual Vesak Day celebrations.

Thousands of Buddhists taking part in the "three steps, one bow" ceremony at the Bukit Gombak Stadium as part of Vesak Day celebrations. The three-hour repetitive sequence is a practice in humility, where Buddhists prostrate mindfully in unison. At t
Thousands of Buddhists taking part in the "three steps, one bow" ceremony at the Bukit Gombak Stadium as part of Vesak Day celebrations. The three-hour repetitive sequence is a practice in humility, where Buddhists prostrate mindfully in unison. At the event yesterday evening, which was organised by the Kwan Yin Chan Lin Zen Meditation Centre, devotees also lit and carried lotus-shaped candles in the Transference of Light ceremony, which signifies the sharing of wisdom through Buddha's teachings. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The monastery also organised a charity bazaar that will run till tomorrow, featuring food stalls selling various snacks and vegetarian food.

  • The Prime Minister sends his greetings to all Buddhists on the occasion of Vesak Day. 

    The Sunday Times also sends Vesak Day greetings to all its Buddhist readers.

 

Buddhists believe that the merit collected on Vesak Day by performing good deeds will multiply many times.

Other rites and rituals carried out on Vesak Day include the chanting of mantras and having vegetarian meals. While releasing animals into the wild used to be a common practice, the Singapore Buddhist Federation and other Buddhist groups now educate followers against doing so, as this may jeopardise the environment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 19, 2019, with the headline 'Temples, monasteries mark Vesak Day'. Print Edition | Subscribe