The Spirit of Dialogue in Indonesia

As part of a series of ongoing fraternal exchanges of goodwill following the Buddhists celebration of Vesak, Br. Michael Peruhe, Provincial Minister of our province of St. Michael (Jakarta, Indonesia) reports that the Provincialate Community visited the Buddhist Temple in Menteng, Jakarta on 31 May 2019. In fidelity to the Buddhist tradition of offering a generous welcome to all guests, especially during the commemoration of Vesak, one of the Temple’s monks personally served lunch to the Brothers.

Vesak commemorates events of fundamental significance to Buddhists of all traditions. Those events are the birth, enlightenment, and the passing away and entrance into the state of Nirvana (the Parinirvana) of Prince Siddhārtha Gautama, i.e., the Buddha (Enlightened One). Buddhists commemorate Vesak in a great diversity of ways, depending upon their tradition of Buddhism and local customs. Among the commemoration’s commonalities, Buddhists assemble in their temples and recommit themselves to the Three Gems, or Refuges: the Buddha, the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings), and the Sangha (the community of the Buddha’s disciples). In the temples, monks and nuns will recite verses uttered by the Buddha to invoke peace and happiness for all people, and to remember to live in harmony with people of other faiths and to respect the beliefs of other people as the Buddha taught.

The name Vesak is derived from the Pali term vesākha or Sanskrit vaiśākha, which is the name of the lunar month used in ancient India falling in April–May, hence the fact that Buddhists of different traditions commemorate Vesak on different days, depending upon how they use their respective lunar calendars – not unlike the differences between Christians calculations of the date of Easter. In 2000, the United Nations resolved to internationally observe the day of Vesak at its headquarters and offices on the day of the first full moon in May.