Vesak Day

Vesak Day Quick Facts - US

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2024 DateMay 23, 2024

Vesak Day

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Vesak Day History

Vesak Day, or the day of the Full Moon, is one of the most important dates on the Buddhist calendar. It celebrates the birth of Buddha in 623 B.C. It was also on this day that the Buddha attained enlightenment and, coincidently, it is the day he passed away eighty years later. Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world, and it is one of the oldest. It encompasses traditions, beliefs, spiritual practices based on the teachings of the Buddha. It originated in India sometime in the 6th century BCE. Buddhism includes teachings of compassion and peace and for this, the UN acknowledges its contributions. It preaches compassion and peace and looks for ways to end the suffering caused by desire. Its end goal is nirvana, which is an ending of the cycle of death and rebirth.

Vesak Day was officially recognized in 1999 by the UN General Assembly. It is observed annually on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Hindu calendar.

Facts about Vesak Day

  • About 535 million people around the world practice Buddhism.
  • According to the World Population Review, as of 2022, the countries with the highest proportion of Buddhist followers are:
    1) Cambodia
    2) Thailand
    3) Myanmar
    4) Bhutan
    5) Sri Lanka
  • For Buddhists everywhere it is indeed a felicitous opportunity, while commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Gautama Buddha, to celebrate his message of compassion and devotion to the service of humanity. This message is today perhaps more relevant than ever before - Former Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, Vesak Day 1986

Top things to do in the US for Vesak Day

  • Practice mindfulness. The Buddha taught that the way to end suffering is by eliminating desire. Be mindful and aware of your thoughts and actions. Try to understand why you do the things that you do.
  • Explore several Buddhist Heritage Sites. UNESCO has partnered with the Korea International Cooperation Agency to develop a project that promotes Buddhist heritage sites.
  • Watch an informative video that explains what Vesak day is all about.

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