2012 is a significant year for all Buddhists as it marks the ‘Buddhajayantee’ – the 2600th anniversary of the Buddha’s enlightenment.
On Sunday 29th July, Belmore Park, Sydney CBD, was transformed into a Buddhist ceremonial ground for the gathering of hundreds of Thai Buddhists for the ceremony of the start of this year Buddhist lent (Pansa or Vansa).
The event was organised by the Thai Buddhist Student Association Inc. with the strong support of Phrakru Palad Nayokworrawat (Most Venerable Suddhammo), the Abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya Sydney and the hard work of all volunteers also make this event possible.
The sound of traditional Thai music played by student of the 60TH Dhammachai Education School started early and filled the atmosphere with pleasure and calmness for all participants and the passers-by.
The ceremony began around 9.30am by the Most Venerable Suddhammo who led the audience to pay respect to the Triple Gem. He, then, gave the brief introduction of the significance of the day that it was not only the traditional ceremony for the start of the Buddhist lent, it was also a rare opportunity for the Buddhists in Sydney to pay respect to the historical Buddha’s relic from Thailand. The relics were discovered in India and were given to the King Rama V of Siam (Thailand) by the British-Indian government at the time. Part of the relics was kept at the well-known Cetiya called Pukhowtong at Wat Saket, one of the tourist attractions in Bangkok.
With the kindness of Somdet Phra Puttajarn, the chairperson of the Supreme of Patriarch’s Representative Committee, the Abbot of Wat Saket had entrusted Prakru Palad Nayokworrawat to bring the holy relic to Australia for the Buddhist here to pay respect and gained blessing in this significant year of Buddhajayantee.
The event was officially opened by Mrs Kasinee Phalanuwong, the Deputy Royal Thai Consulate General, Sydney. Then the procession to bring the Buddha’s relic came in to the ground led by the group of Buddhajayantee flag-bearers followed by rows of lay people holding candle light offering. The procession went towards the temporary cetiya at the centre to the ceremony where the relic will be placed, and walked around it three times then the relic was placed in the cetiya by the Sangha.
Most Venerable Sudhhammo led the audience for a meditation time for their clam and clear minds. After the meditation, the offering of Pansa candles and Sangha Dana were presented by four representatives of the congregation. The Sangha received the offering and gave blessing.
The second part of the ceremony was followed, where lines of peoples waited enthusiastically for the monks as they slowly passed each person to receive their alms offering (Takbat). That was the conclusion of the morning ceremony.
The monks remained at Belmore Park to give people the opportunity to offer Sangha Dana for the whole afternoon.
The Buddhajayantee candle light ceremony started again around 4.00pm with more than a hundred Buddhists had joined. Most Venerable Suddhammo led the Buddha Puja chanting followed by meditation time. When everyone mind was clear, all the candles were lid.
Most Venerable Suddhammo led the Sangha and the congregation to pay respect to the Buddha’s relic by walking around the cetiya three times. When everyone came back to their seat, most Venerable Suddhammo led them in merit dedication to all beings and that concluded the evening ceremony.