A brief break in the tense situation in Ceylon - "Wesak Day" on April 30.?
A brief break in the tense situation in Ceylon - "Wesak Day" on April 30. This commemorates the "birth, enlightenment and death" of Buddha. The emergency regulations (introduced during the Tamil Language controversies) were eased temporarily for celebrations in the usual grand style.
Ceylon is a leading Buddhist country; and Buddhist monks have recently played a part in the country's politics - unlike Buddhist monks in other countries. As April 30 approached, the entire tropical countryside and towns took on a colourful appearance. Arches with coconut palms were erected, and houses were illuminated with ancient lanterns.
In Colombo, the capital, the lavish decorations attracted thousands of people from nearby villages. The nearby Kelaniya Temple, where the remains of Buddha are enshrined, was the focal point of the celebrations.
By the Temple stands a sacred Bodhi tree - sacred because it was under such a tree that an Indian prince became Buddha (meaning "enlightened") nearly 2,500 years ago. He founded and preached a philosophy of salvation by right speech, right action and right thought.