KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 – Buddhists in the country celebrated Wesak Day Sunday with humility and special remembrance for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal. At the Buddhist Maha Vihara temple in Brickfields here, devotees started to arrive as early as 6am to participate in prayers and to pay homage to Lord Buddha.
Buddhist chief high priest of Malaysia, Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana Maha Thero said this year’s celebration focused on prayers for victims of the April 25 earthquake in Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The celebration at the temple this morning began with the hoisting of the Buddhist flag followed by the singing of hymns.
A special prayer session was also held for the victims of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that ravaged Nepal, with the latest reports indicating the death toll climbing past 7,000 today. Wesak, a holy day in the Buddhism calendar, marks Buddha’s birthday and his attainment of enlightenment, as well as commemorates his death.
As believers observed the special day with prayers and chants and giving of alms, a blood donation and organ donation drive was also held at the temple. In KEDAH, more than 800 Buddhists gathered at Wat Jitraram in Jitra early this morning to celebrate the occasion.
In addition to praying for the welfare and safety of family members, devotees also took the opportunity to whisper a prayer for the earthquake victims in Nepal, according to Chong Seik Onn, 66. “Today, all my family members have gathered here to celebrate this festival and we will spend the whole day praying. We will visit three temples around Jitra and Alor Setar this time,” he said.
In SELANGOR, among the places of worship chosen by devotees was the FGS Dong Zen Temple in Jenjarom, which saw over 200 Buddhists celebrating Wesak Day there. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai also took part in the religious ceremony. In conjunction with the Wesak Day celebration this time which touched on the principles of harmony and cooperation, Liow said the people should always practise moderation in life.
He said it (moderation) could protect the spread of various kinds of extremism which could interfere with the prosperity and sovereignty of the nation. In MELAKA, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron in a statement today said Malaysians were fortunate because tolerance and mutual understanding between people of different religions, languages and cultures over the years had brought harmony.
“Let us work to strengthen national unity and contribute to the development and prosperity of the country,” he said. The public also took advantage of the holiday and cloudy weather to visit tourist attractions and historical sites such as Melaka Zoo, Bandar Hilir, Hang Tuah Village and Dataran 1Malaysia.