Q-60pxPlease tell me when Vesak is celebrated here. I have found many dates for various countries but have been unable to determine which date applies to Japan. Are there special observances of the holiday at MBT?


A-60pxThe Midwest Buddhist Temple does not observe such. Vesak is pretty much a Theravada holiday, which celebrates the Buddha’s birth, death and Enlightenment (usually in May, but the date moves with the lunar calendar).

In the Mahayana tradition—and this means pretty much all of the Japanese schools of Buddhism—these three events are celebrated as three different holidays.

The Midwest Buddhist Temple (and the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji, our mother temple in Japan) has converted to the western (solar) calendar, and celebrates the Buddha’s birth on April 8. This holiday is called Hanamatsuri (flower festival). The Buddha’s death is called Nirvana Day and observed on Feb. 15. Buddha’s Enlightenment is called Bodhi Day and marked on Dec. 8.