All Buddhists in every part of the world pay special attention to Vesak Poya, because it signifies the Birth of Prince Siddhartha, the Attainment of Enlightenment by him, and the passing away of the Buddha.
Other than any Poya day of the year, Vesak is considered to be the most sacred. Therefore more than other Poya Days, Vesak Poya ushers in meritorious deeds by every Buddhist. Many of them observe Sil. In addition, many Buddhists take part in offering food, Dansalas, to weary trevellers who want to see Pandals, Vesak lanterns and other kinds of decorations. In every village as well as large towns, all these religious activities are conducted according to the Dhamma given to the world by the Buddha. All these demonstrate the essentials, of the Doctrine of the Buddha.
Everyone takes part in all these activities on their own free will, without any compulsion the Buddha made people concentrate on doing good deeds for the benefit of the rest of the community. The Buddha has the quality called – “Purisa Dhamma Sarathi” as he made use of his powers of performing – miracles and various other methods other necessary. Like the leaders of other religious, the Buddha – never expected his followers to accept something simply, because it was uttered by the Buddha. He wanted his followers to practice what he has said and find out whether it is true of useful.
On one occasion when the Buddha was travelling to the City of “Setavya” a Brahamin “Drona” observed the foot prints of the Buddha. He came to the conclusion that these cannot be the foot prints of a human being, going forward a little he saw the Buddha seated under a tree. He came to the Buddha and inquired whether he is God. The Buddha replied that he is not a God. The Brahamin asked the Buddha whether he is a “Gandhabba” or a “Yakka” the Buddha replied that he is none of them, who have desires like ordinary people, but is a superior human being, who has eradicated all desires of the senses. Among the religious teachers the Buddha alone never claimed to be other than a human being, nor to have received inspiration from any Gods or external powers. Other teachers claimed to be either God, an incarnation of Gods or inspired directly by Gods. The Buddha attributed all his realisation, attainments and achievements to human endeavour and intelligence. We can call the Buddha a human par excellence, so perfected in his “humanness” that he has come to be regarded in the popular religious sense as “Super – human”. However, Buddha claimed that every human has the potential of becoming a Buddha through individual will and effort.
On a certain occasion Ajeewaka Upaka, questioned the Buddha as to why his face is very pleasant. Your complexion too is pleasant, you donned the robes – guru who is your teacher. The Buddha replied
“Name achariyo atthi Sadiso me navijjathi sadewakasmin lokasmin Natthime patipuggalo”
I have no teacher, who – taught me the “Dhamma” the supreme Doctrine, among all humans, Gods and Brahmas there no one is comparable to one. The Buddha’s teaching and activities towards humanity were very practical, derived from life experiences. Chosen to illumine practical and moral life without the prevailing practice or rituals and ceremonies of his day. No priest or the like was necessary to help one reach the Buddha potential and Gods had no room in his teachings. By oneself indeed is evil done, by oneself is one defiled, by oneself is evil left undone, by oneself indeed is one purified, purity and – impurity depend on oneself. No one purifies another, anyone by practising truth can achieve salvation. There is no Higher Being or power that sits in judgment over human wisdom and destiny.
The Buddha never forced anyone to accept his – teaching. This is seen in “Kalama Suthra” where the Buddha has told the Kalamas not to accept anything simply because someone says so. This is the word of the Buddha. Do not accept anything simply because – it is said like that in books. Live according to the tenets and find our whether happiness comes. One’s way, no other religion gives this freedom a thought.
All these facts draw our attention to the fact that the Buddha and Vesak day are unique in human history.