The Vesak Holiday

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The Buddha and Vesak
By Sovan Tun, Ph. D.
Vice President of the Cambodian Buddhist Society, Inc.

The religion known as Buddhism was founded 2544 years ago by Siddhattha Gotama the Buddha. He was born on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month Visakha (Vesak) in the year 623 BCE at Lumbini Garden in Kapilavatthu City, located in Northern India presently known as Nepal. His father was King Suddhodana and his mother was Queen Siri Maya. The prince was married to Princess Yasadhara and had a son named RahuIa. At the age of 29, he left his family and the luxurious life in the palace to pursue his search for truths about life. Gotama attained enlightenment on the full moon day of the sixth lunar month Visakha at the age of 35 and received the title of "Buddha." The Buddha means the enlightened one because He found the four-fold noble truths of life. It also means the awakened one because He indicated the three characteristics of life: suffering, impermanence, and no-self. Gotama entered the Parinibbana (passing) at the age of 80 also on the full moon day of Visakha.

Here is some information on the United Nations official recognition of Vesak as an international holiday:
Article from theravada.net: the Draft Resolution
From the UN: the memo requesting addition of Vesak recognition resolution to the agenda (in Adobe PDF format)
From India's Permanent Mission to the UN: Supporting Statement re: the resolution
From the Sri Lankan Embassy to the US: press release about the resolution
From the Daily News, a Sri Lankan newspaper: article by Mr. Kadirgamar, Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs
From watbowon.org: The address by Ven. Bhikku Bodhi at the observance
From UNESCAP: press release about the observance
From lanka.net: press release about the observance
From World Zen Fellowship: report about the observance

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