A Buddhism week in celebration of “World Day of Vesak,” or Visakha Puja, and the 2,600th anniversary of the enlightenment of the Buddha, or Buddhajayanti, is being held at the Sanam Luang ceremonial site in Bangkok.
The week-long event takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., between 29 May and 4 June 2012. It is also meant to commemorate the 85th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the 80th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, and the 60th birthday of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Among various activities held at Sanam Luang are lectures on Tripitaka, or the Buddhist scriptures, an exhibition on Buddhajayanti by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, an exhibition on important Buddha statues from the four regions of Thailand, Dhamma talks and performances, and the floating of lit lotus lanterns in honor of revered Buddha statues from nine countries. The program also includes alms-giving ceremonies, recitals of the story of the last great incarnation of the Buddha, academic seminars on Buddhism, walking contemplation, and walks around the Buddha’s relics.
On this occasion, a Buddhist Cultural Festival is scheduled for 31 May-2 June 2012, between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., with performing troupes from 16 countries. On May 31, cultural performances will be staged at the Conference Hall, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, a public Buddhist university in Wang Noi district of Ayutthaya province. On June 1, the shows will be performed at the National Theater in Bangkok, and on June 2, they will be staged at Buddhamonthon, a Buddhist religious center in Nakhon Pathom province.
More than 5,000 Buddhists and Buddhist monks from all over the world are expected to join the World Vesak Day from May 31 to June 2 at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Ayutthaya, the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, and Buddhamonthon in Nakhon Pathom. During the period, an international symposium will be held, focusing on the theme “The Buddha’s Enlightenment for the Well-Being of Humanity.” Major topics of discussion are Buddhist Wisdom and Reconciliation, Buddhist Wisdom and Human Transformation, and Buddhist Wisdom and Environment.
After the symposium, to be opened at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and closed at the United Nations Conference Center, participants will travel to Buddhamonthon to walk around the giant Buddhamonthon statue and join a stone-laying ceremony to establish this Buddhist Park as the center of world Buddhism.
Various activities in celebration of Buddhajayanti will also be held at other designated venues in all provinces. The World Vesak Day this year falls on June 4, and it has been celebrated internationally as a significant event since the United Nations General Assembly in December 1999 adopted a resolution for international recognition of the Day of Vesak.