Vesak (Pali: Vesākha, Sanskrit: Vaiśākha, Sinhala: වෙසක්), also known as Wesak, Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, and Buddha Day, is a holiday traditionally observed by Buddhists. The festival commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha.
- For Buddhists everywhere it is indeed a felicitous opportunity, while commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Guatama Buddha, to celebrate his message of compassion and devotion to the service of humanity. This message is today perhaps more relevant than ever before. Peace, understanding and a vision of humanity that supersedes national and other international differences are essential if we are to cope with the complexities of the nuclear age. This philosophy lies at the heart of the Charter of the United Nations and should be prominent in all our thinking, especially during this International Year of Peace
- Javier Perez de Cuellar (Former UN Secretary-General) quoted in United Nations Message to Buddhists on the Day of Vesak, (May 1986)
- Vesak is one of the most important Buddhist festivals. It is also known as Wesak or Buddha Day. It is a celebration of Buddha's birthday and, for some Buddhists, marks his enlightenment (when he discovered life's meaning)... The date of Vesak changes each year as it take places at the time of the first full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakha, which usually falls in May or early June.
- Vesak festival: What is it and how do Buddhists celebrate Buddha Day or Wesak?, BBC News, (7 May 2007)
- Today, we recognize the contributions Buddhism has made to human spirituality and culture for more than two and a half millennia. All of us, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, can find inspiration in the Buddha’s message of honesty, compassion and respect for all living things... On this Day of Vesak, let’s resolve to build lives of peace and dignity for all on a healthy planet.
- António Guterres, UN Secretary-General's Message for 2021 (26 May 2021)
- Jill and I extend our warmest wishes to Buddhists in the United States and around the world as they celebrate Vesak, a day honoring the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha. The ceremonial lighting of a lamp, the symbol of this holiday that has been celebrated for over 2,500 years, reminds us of Buddhism’s teachings of compassion, humility, and selflessness that endure today. On this day, we also commemorate the many contributions of Buddhists in America who enrich our communities and our country as we all work together toward brighter days ahead.
- President Joe Biden, as quoted: For the First Time Ever, the White House Celebrates Vesak, the Buddha’s Birthday, By Alison Spiegel, Tricyle magazine, (27 May 2021)
- The story is connected with the Buddha, and with a happening in His life which left Him in the position wherein (following the dictates of His heart) He determined to return once a year from the high place in which He dwells and works, to bless the world. The two great Sons of God, the Buddha and the Christ, are one the custodian and the other the recipient of this blessing. Both of Them hold it in trust for transmission to a needy world, and both of Them act as transmitters of this spiritual energy to humanity. p. 7
- The dream, the legend, the fact can be described as follows: There is a valley, lying at a rather high altitude in the foothills of the Himalayan-Tibet ranges. It is surrounded by high mountains on all sides except towards the northeast, where there is a narrow opening in the mountain ranges... At the time of the full moon of Taurus, pilgrims from all the surrounding districts begin to gather; the holy men and lamas find their way into the valley... There, so the legend runs, there gathers a group of those great Beings Who are the Custodians on Earth of God's Plan for our planet and for humanity. By what name we call these Beings does not greatly matter... This group of knowers of divinity are the main participants in the Wesak Festival... Just a few minutes before the exact time of the full moon, in the far distance, a tiny speck can be seen in the sky. It comes nearer and nearer, and grows in clarity and definiteness of outline, until the form of the Buddha can be seen... bathed in light and colour, and with His hand extended in blessing... A great mantram, used only once a year, at the Festival, is intoned by the Christ, and the entire group of people in the valley fall upon their faces... Thus, so the legend runs, the Buddha returns once a year to bless the world, transmitting through the Christ renewed spiritual life. p. 9-10
- The Wesak Festival: A Technique of Spiritual Contact, Part II, by Alice A. Bailey, The Arcane School/Lucis Trust