One of the most memorable trip that i have pass is celebrate Buddhist holiday called Vesak Day. I went to Borobudur with 12 friends to see the flying lanterns. About thousand lantern flied around Borobudur create a great scenery i ever saw.
Vesak, or Waisak or Vaiśākha or वैशाख is Buddhist holiday. It celebrate in country which has Buddhist peoples. Vesak day celebrated in the month of May when the light of the moon time (full sidhi) to commemorate following three important events:
- The birth of Prince Siddhartha in Lumbini in 623 BC,
- Prince Siddharta attained enlightenment and became Buddha at Buddha-Gaya (Bodhgaya) at the age of 35 years old in the year 588 BC
- Gautama Buddha peg out (parinibbana) in Kusinara at age 80 in the year 543 BC
Buddhism first entered into the Archipelago (now Indonesia) around the 5th century AD when viewed from penginggalan existing inscriptions. Allegedly first taken by the rover from China named Fa Hsien. First Buddhist kingdom that flourished in the archipelago was Srivijaya kingdom that was founded in the 7th century up to the year 1377. Srivijaya kingdom had become a center for the development of Buddhism in Southeast Asia.
Further development of Buddhism after the Majapahit empire started in 1954 by Venerable Ashin Jinarakkhita. He was the first monk ordained of Indonesia since collapse of Majapahit empire. He contributes to the development of Buddhism in Indonesia. In 1954, to help the development of Buddhism nationally, so established the Brotherhood of laywomen Upasaka Indonesia (PUUI), celebrated the holy day of Vesak at the Borobudur Temple in 1956, and the establishment of Perbuddhi (Buddhist Association of Indonesia) in 1958.
Nowadays, Vesak day celebrated in Borobudur, the largest single buddhist temple in the world. Indonesia has about one million buddhist (0,4 % from total population).
The procession of Vesak Day starts around 11 am when the Buddhist start to meditating around the temple. Peoples who have other religion still allowed to to remain the ceremonial procession of Buddhism. The rain fall so heavy when i arrive Borobudur temple and lead to the difficulty of finding parking for our vehicles.
It need 3 hours to reach the Borobudur Parking Area. In the common day, we just need 45 minutes from Yogyakarta to Borobudur. However, because of Vesak is a holiday for all Indonesian people, so many visitors flock to go to Borobudur to follow the Vesak ceremony procession. Expected, more than 100,000 visitors come to Borobudur for this event
We bought raincoat and bamboo hat there to protect us from rain. We waited about 30 minutes in main gate of Borobudur with thousand peoples who want to see the ceremony. One of our friend ask the officer and he gave us information that gate 7, opposite of main gate already opened for visitor.
Then we walk in heavy rain to reach the Gate 7 (Manohara Gate). The ceremony held in Lumbini Field. It was so overcrowd! Peoples start to disturb the ceremony because they want to take picture of it.
And after all our sufferings because of rain, finally reaching its peak when the organizers announced the cancellation of flying lanterns because it is not possible to fly lanterns when it rains. It was very disappointing feeling. The lantern flied one day after vesak.