Vesak Day – Bathing the Buddha Celebration

Close up of bathing the buddha on Vesak Day


The Significance of Vesak Day

Every year in the month of May, Buddhists around the world commemorate the Birth, Enlightenment and Nirvana of Siddhartha Gautama Sakyamuni Buddha. Our Buddhist Centre will organise a ‘Bathing-the-Buddha’ Ceremony followed by a vegetarian lunch for devotees and visitors.


The Birth of the Buddha

Sakyamuni Buddha was born as a Prince in the Lumbini Garden in ancient India more than 2,500 years ago. After realising the inevitable suffering of all sentient beings, the Prince renounced from the worldly life and became a monk, vowing to attain the Ultimate Enlightenment. After six years of diligent cultivation, He realised the Universal Truth and attained Supreme Enlightenment at the foot of the Bodhi tree in Gaya, India. Thereafter, known as the ‘Awakened One’ or Buddha, he travelled far and wide to spread His teachings for forty-nine years. At the age of eighty, on the full-moon day of May, the Buddha entered the state of Nirvana.


The Origins of Vesak Day

Each year during Vesak Day, Buddhists around the world observe the ‘Bathing the Buddha Ceremony’ to commemorate the Birth, Enlightenment and Nirvana of Sakyamuni Buddha, the great compassionate, enlightened and world-honoured teacher of sentient beings.

During the ceremony, we sing the Bathing the Buddha Hym:

“I now bathe the Tathāgata (Buddha).

Purity, wisdom, majesty and ocean of merit.

May all beings purify themselves from defilements and

attain Tathāgata’s pure Dharmakāya (Buddha-nature);

pure Dharmakāya, pure Dharmakāya.”


Water lily in full bloom in pond.

The Meaning of Bathing the Buddha

As we bathe the Buddha, we should remind ourselves to always maintain our pure awareness (i.e. our Buddha-nature) and cleanse our minds of all impure thoughts. When we have pure awareness, we will have brightness. With brightness, we unfold and develop the wisdom to make wise judgement and understand the consequences of our actions and behaviour. Thus, we will be able to build a blissful family, achieve happiness, and lead a fulfilling meaningful life – a life that is filled with bliss, wisdom and happiness, not only for ourselves, but others as well.

(Extracted from Publications by Venerable Master Shen-Kai)