The Thai government is preparing to hold grand celebrations for the 2,600th anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha, or Buddhajayanti, with many religious activities.
The Cabinet, during its meeting on 1 May 2012, approved a fund of 150 million baht for organizing various activities to mark this special occasion, following a proposal submitted by the Office of National Buddhism.
Out of this amount, 54 million baht will be spent on an international seminar of Buddhists, to be organized by Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University. A total of 30 million baht will be used to build nine large Buddha images as a tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, on the occasion of His Majesty’s 85th birthday, Her Majesty’s 80th birthday, and His Royal Highness’s 60th birthday in 2012.
Another 30 million baht will be set aside for certain religious activities in commemoration of the 2,600 years of the Buddha’s enlightenment. These activities include a ceremony to cast Buddha images and a procession of the Buddha’s relics at the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground in Bangkok, as well as other activities carried out jointly by various Buddhist organizations. An amount of 16 million baht will be allocated for the celebrations at Buddhamonthon, a Buddhist religious center located in Nakhon Pathom province, and in other areas in the central region. The remainder of 20 million baht will be set aside for public relations campaigns.
The Office of National Buddhism reported to the Cabinet that the Day of Vesak in 2012 marks the 2,600th anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha. Buddhist countries will hold special activities in commemoration of this special occasion. The Sangha Supreme Council, the Mahathera Samakhom, resolved in a meeting that the Buddhajayanti celebrations should be held during the week-long Vesak, or Visakha Puja, Festival. The Thai government and Buddhist organizations will join forces in holding the celebrations.
The Day of Vesak, or Visakha Puja, falls on the full day of the sixth lunar month, coinciding with June 4 this year. It commemorates the birth of the Buddha, his attainment of enlightenment, and his passing away. An extraordinary aspect of the occasion is that the three incidents took place on the same day but in different years.
Activities to celebrate this special occasion will focus on spreading the Buddha’s teachings and Dhamma practice. The Government has included the celebrations in the national agenda. Buddhist leaders from all over the world will be invited to join the celebrations in Thailand, especially the international seminar of Buddhists.
A mass ordination of 99 monks will be held from May 25 to June 8, as part of the Visakha Puja Festival and as a tribute to His Majesty the King. The event is also meant to commemorate of the 2,600th anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha.