This past week was the holiest of Buddhist holidays. Vesak is the night of Birth, Englightenment and Death of Lord Buddha and falls each year on the Full moon day in May. This year it fell on the 4th.
Sri Lanka is lit in bright, colourful lanterns; the towns and villages are crowded with “pilgrims” going around to see the elaborate Jathaka stories illuminated in typical exuberent “Thoran;” Streets are lined with various “dansal” (Alms giving Stalls) which have ventured away from the classic Rice and curry, to more modern versions like “Ice Cream Dansal.” People throng the roadways, and for the smaller towns and villages this is a chance for the young men and women to share the same space, sneak glances and various romances blossom during this holiday period.
The lanterns and lights, the flowers and incense are meant to mark the inevitable end of everything; Nothing lasts forever. And to celebrate the importance of Lord Buddha, the Greatest teacher. The large scale alms givings are to celebrate in the joy of giving.
Below is a mindfulness practice for this holiday (but can be done as a part of any meditation, and life practice.)
Rain, lightning, dark clouds, white clouds, and colorful ones, small and large clouds, rainbow.….all these things happen on the surface of sky. But sky is not any one of them.
Same way, in our mind all types of thoughts pass by. When we remain observant of our thoughts, they pass by like clouds in the sky. Watch your thoughts as if you would watch the clouds in the sky.
When different types of thoughts arise in the mind, don’t do anything, just observe them.
They will come and they will leave.