The rejoice for Wesak is usually accompanied with a visit to the temples. Amidst the throng of crowd, devotees are greeted with a boisterous atmosphere, more akin to a funfair or festival. On a typical Wesak Day, one sees mass blessing, piped in chanting or Buddhist music, lighting of oil lamps and incense (and making the entire temple compound smoky and polluted), placement of flowers (which are then thrown away an hour later, or reused for later crowds who come in later).
The cacophony of sound, festivities and smoke is a far cry from the moment Siddharta Gautama attained His Enlightenment and became Buddha. On this Wesak full moon day, under the Bodhi tree, the Enlightenment came in the midst of silence, under the contant flow and ebb of mindful breaths. Before that moment, the Bodhisattva had encountered much disturbances, all rallying for Him to give up his quest. But Siddharta persisted. And the rest is history.
As this year's Wesak is greeted in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it gives us a rare opportunity to leave the usual crowd and experience that moment of silence and bliss when the Buddha's Enlightenmnent occured. For once, we have the opportunity to invoke peace on an individual basis - alone - just as Siddharta himself experienced.
If meditation is not yet your cup of tea, then perhaps a relook at His life would help. Get to know Buddha as a historical figure: who He was, where He lived, who were His companions, what challenges He faced etc. The Buddhist Channel and BudBlooms have created a special Wesak2020 issue and 4 books by Bhante S. Dhammika have been uploaded. Special mention is made on the book "Buddha and His Disciples" for this year's Wesak. Please check it out here:
In Buddhism, the process of learning entails the following: pariyati (study), patipati (practice) and pativeda (realize). On this holy day, in a new normal of the "Covid-19 pandemic" era, let us cultivate and experience the Buddha Dhamma as Siddharta tasted Himself on his historic day 2564 years ago: alone, in peace, in bliss and with noble silence. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!