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The Wesak Festival — 
a journey to the centre of the Universe

by Josephine Harrison

The full moon of Taurus marks the sacred  festival of spiritual vitalization for all of humanity.  


Mount Kailash in western Tibet, also identified as the mythical Mount Semura, was in ancient times believed by people of central Asia to be the centre of the Universe. To the indigenous culture of Tibet, the Bon, it is considered sacred. To Hindus, it represents Shiva’s throne. And some believe it is the place where the deeply spiritual festival of Wesak takes place in May each year. The Wesak Festival: Moon of the Buddha, a film produced in the 1980s by Albert Falzon, describes a valley in the shadow of Mount Kailash as a possible location for this event.

In the book The Dalai Lama: My Tibet, author Galen Rowell says that people have come in caravans to the pyramid-shaped Mount Kailash since ancient times to prostrate themselves on its holy ground. They believe that to have their body touch the ground on every inch of the holy path around the mountain will cleanse their karma and bring enlightenment. From all over Asia they have come, religious and non-religious alike. Lamas from the much-respected Red Hat sect are shown in Falzon’s film with trumpets so long that they need to be supported on a second monk’s shoulder to be played. The journey to reach the holy place is itself a challenge. Mount Kailash — Kangrinpoche in Tibetan — and the holy Lake Manasarowar where pilgrims symbolically cleanse themselves before entering the holy path, are to Buddhists the Father and Mother principle representing the means to enlightenment.

The Wesak Festival is celebrated at the time of the full moon in May by Buddhists throughout Asia. However, the exact location of this deeply spiritual event in western Tibet has not been confirmed. It is described by Alice A. Bailey and C.W. Leadbeater as taking place in a bottleneck-shaped valley carpeted with coarse grass, the mountainsides covered with trees, on the north side of the Himalayas about 400 miles west of Lhasa. Leadbeater also mentions a lake in the distance, where pilgrims wash themselves before entering the valley.

At the sacred event in Tibet, the energy from Shamballa is released upon earth through the Buddha. During the ceremony, which lasts about half an hour, known as Wesak in the West and Sakadawa in Tibetan, a group of Great Beings, the Knowers of the race, arrange Themselves at the northeastern end of the valley in front of a flat rock on which rests a crystal bowl filled with water. The three heads of the departments of Hierarchy — the Manu, Maitreya the Christ, and the Mahachohan — and the Masters of the Seven Rays move in symbolic forms while verses in the ancient Pali language are chanted. At the peak of the ceremony the grouped Masters and Their disciples form a five-pointed star, with Maitreya standing at the apex, facing the altar rock.

Maitreya

At the moment of the full moon the Buddha appears, sitting cross-legged in His saffron robe. He first appears as a tiny speck in the sky. Leadbeater describes the Buddha as becoming a gigantic figure with a brilliant aura from which emanates a glorious ultramarine, then golden yellow, crimson, pure silvery white and scarlet, with brilliant rays of green and violet shooting out from these spheres of light. The colours are also described as the Buddha’s aura in ancient Buddhist scriptures. This radiant Being hovers over the crystal bowl and the three Great Lords. A mantram, used only at this Festival, is intoned by Maitreya.

This is the supreme moment of spiritual vitalization of humanity as the energies from Shamballa, transmitted through the Buddha, are received by Maitreya as representative of humanity. The water in the crystal bowl is then held up and blessed by Him, as the participants in the ceremony come forward, one at a time, to sip the water. Pilgrims, who find their way to the valley from central Asia, bring their flasks of water to participate in this final blessing. The ceremony ends when the Buddha holds up His right hand in blessing as He slowly recedes and is seen again as a tiny speck in the sky.

The Buddha

This ceremony is remembered vividly by some people who have witnessed it in a dream state. The authenticity of such experiences is described by Alice Bailey who had two dreams, seven years apart, in which she saw the festival.

Bailey states in Esoteric Psychology II that the united effort of disciples in spiritual preparation — prior to Wesak and after — is of paramount importance. This seems especially so now as we enter the new millennium. The global movement towards brotherhood, justice and world peace is enormous and the opportunity presented by Wesak is exceptional. It is as though a highway of light is made available for this great outpouring from Shamballa.

Each of us can co-operate in the intended plan by preparing ourselves, in meditation, as transmitters of the new forces being released through the great avatars, namely the Spirit of Peace and the Avatar of Synthesis. Alice Bailey suggests there should be an attitude of service and dedication to that which the soul will impart and which will make us of use to the Plan. She also suggests that disciples should prepare themselves inwardly at least two days before this extraordinary event and two days afterwards. On the day of the full moon we should hold ourselves steadily in the Light.

The Masters and the "Teacher alike of angels and of men" await those disciples, to whatever degree their understanding, who are willing to sacrifice in some way to help humanity and play their part in creating a great pool of energy for the benefit of the world throughout the year. The use of the ‘The Great Invocation’, given to humanity through Alice Bailey in 1945, invokes these higher energies, most powerfully in group formation, above all in Transmission Meditation, and is of great usefulness in this process.

Bibliography:

    Albert Falzon, The Wesak Festival (film)

    Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology II

    Elisabeth B. Booz, Tibet

    C.W. Leadbeater, The Masters and the Path

    Galen Rowell, The Dalai Lama — My Tibet


Josephine Harrison is a Share International co-worker from Vancouver, Canada.

From the May 2000 issue of Share International


Wesak is "the greatest event upon our planet, from the stand point of  the Spiritual verities, and the one which has the greatest effect upon the human race." The Master Djwhal Khul


Benjamin Creme, the chief editor of Share International, lectures throughout the world on the emergence of Maitreya -- the World Teacher -- and His group, the Masters of Wisdom. Click here to see Mr. Creme's upcoming lecture venues or here to listen to his previous talks located on this site. 

Details about the emergence of Maitreya, the World Teacher


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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005