Yesterday I had the pleasure of teaching the basics of Buddhism at The Island Free School over in Ventnor, again it was a joint effort with Dave Downer from the Newport Soto Zen group.
The Free School is a smaller, somewhat more intimate school than the others on the Island, and we had taught a similar “Buddhism Day” there last year.
The difference this year is that coincidentally it was also Parinirvana Day, when Buddhists from the Mahayana tradition remember the death and enlightenment of the Buddha.
Here at the West Wight Sangha we celebrate this event in May. This has been designated by the United Nations as the international Day of Wesak to acknowledge the contribution that Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world, has made for over two and a half millennia and continues to make to the spirituality of humanity.
Wesak is the Buddhist festival that commemorates the Buddha’s birth, awakening and final passing and is celebrated by millions of Buddhists around the world on the day of the first full Moon of May.