Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Buddha Day

Yesterday was Buddha Day, an important Buddhist holiday celebrating the life of Gautauma Buddha. In Thailand, the day is known as Visakha Bucha, and is celebrated every May on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon. On this holiday, devout worshippers meditate, donate to charities, stop eating meat, and "bathe" the Buddha at temples.

This year, Buddha Day fell on a Monday which means it was a long weekend. For those who stayed in Bangkok, the holiday may have included a visit to the temple, but more likely it involved sleeping in late, going out to eat a lot, and perhaps heading to the mall. Yesterday, shop-a-holics were out in full force, dining in food courts, and taking advantage of Buddha Day sales.

I wonder how Buddha would react to the way some people use this sacred day to enjoy themselves. Considering that they didn't have mega-malls and food courts in Buddha's lifetime, it's difficult to say how he'd feel. Maybe, since Buddha believed happiness is an important goal in life, he wouldn't disapprove, after all.