The 2018 Australian Observance of the United Nations Day of Vesak, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of The Lord Buddha was held at Paul Keating Park in Bankstown, New South Wales on Saturday May 5, and was well attended by hundreds of enthusiastic and happy Buddhists and Non-Buddhists from around Sydney, and from around Australia.
The formal proceedings of this most auspicious event began at 10am with a warm welcome from the MC's and traditional Buddhist chanting in the Pali, Vietnamese, Tibetan and English languages, by representatives from the monastic communities of the three major Buddhist traditions of Theravada (School of the Elders), Mahayana (Great Vehicle) and Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle).
Prior to the chanting, Most Venerable Suddhamo, the president of the Buddhist Federation of Australia, gave a brief and insightful explanation on the significance and purpose of the chanting.
The chanting was followed by meaningful speeches delivered by a representative of the United Nations, as well as representatives of the federal, state and local governments.
The key-note speech on the events theme, 'The Spirit Of Generosity' was eloquently delivered by the Most Venerable Dhammagavesi Thero, the abbot of Lankarama Buddhist Temple, who pointed out the importance of generosity in every aspect of our lives, both individually and collectively.
The formal proceedings were rounded out with a Bathing of the Baby Buddha Ceremony and food offerings to the monastic community.
Throughout the day, attendees enjoyed delicious food from the many food stalls, as well as visiting the various other informative and educational information stalls.
The children and youth were also well catered for with fun activities provided, such as face painting, a jumping castle, fairy floss and other yummy delights on offer. They were also treated with an enjoyable and educational trivia quiz about the Buddha's life and teachings. A children's Buddhist art competition was also held, with all of the entrants receiving a prize. All winners and no losers.
Continuing with the festive atmosphere, the afternoon featured on stage performances of song and dance from the many cultures in attendance. It was as if we were all travelling the world without leaving Sydney. The event concluded at 3pm with all of the performers on stage performing a fun rendition of 'Wonderful World'. All in attendance had a wonderful time, with smiles all around.
We look forward to next years celebration. May we all be well and happy.
By Dharma Teacher Andrew Williams