Houston Buddhist Temple Celebrates Vesak

May 25, 2002

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On May 25, 2002 The Houston Chronicle reported on the Buddhist holiday of Vesak at a Vietnamese Buddhits Temple, in Houston, TX where "hundreds of men, women and children wait at Jade Buddha Temple for the few sacred moments that they will pour water onto a small statue of Buddha... Bathing the Buddha is a popular observance of Vesak, the birthday of Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, or Enlightened One... The ritual is a birthday tribute to the founder of the worldwide religion that has more than 350 million adherents. But it is also a symbolic action signifying a follower's desire to lead a virtuous life as set out by Buddhist teachings... Buddhists observe the holy day by reflecting on their spiritual lives, seeking to forsake evil or wrong, and renewing their commitment to a life of virtue... Vesak 'is the unifying spiritual holiday for all Buddhists,' said Anne Klein, a professor in Rice University's religion studies program and a Buddhist. The birthday cuts across the faith's various traditions and sects and transcends Buddhists' numerous cultures... But Vesak encompasses more than just his birth, Klein said. The day of his birth is also considered the day of his 'enlightenment' as well as the day of his death, she said."