May’s Full Moon annually brings the festival of Vesak (or Wesak). Known as the “Buddha’s Birthday,” this centuries-old festival honors the three best moments in Buddha’s life: birth, enlightenment, and death.
More broadly, we celebrate the very idea of enlightenment—how regularly it is born, lives, and dies in us. We awaken to our spiritual potentials, we have a peak experience, and inevitably, we lose it. During Vesak we celebrate the gestures, thoughts, and attitudes of Enlightened Mind. It’s widely believed that during May’s Full Moon, the potential to expand your consciousness is greater than at any other time of the year.
In some temples, only white will be worn, vegetarian foods will be eaten, while the Buddha’s precepts are contemplated and observed. Sometimes animals, birds, and insects are released in a symbolic gesture of bringing freedom to all beings (lately, the thinking is that such acts, like releasing doves at weddings, actually endanger the animals being “freed”). A better policy on this day is to follow Nature’s example. Notice all around you. Nature is sponsoring a wild festival of beauty. Likewise, become an agent of beauty and happiness. Bring joy and ease to any places or people that you see who need this.
And make some time for enlightenment to reach you. On special nights like this one, you can tap into a river of devotional energy that is flowing around the globe, driven by the joyful hearts of sincere devotees around the world. At such times, those with a strong daily practice are supercharged and can drive the rest of us, who are also being empowered to transcend our limits. On Full Moon night, join this sacred river.
First, surround yourself with a zone of peace. By this I mean, tune into your personal space, the arms-length energetic egg that is around your body. Take its measure. Then re-calibrate it. Tune this energetic space towards feelings of safety, strength, and peace. This zone protects you and it acts as a filter, allowing all that is illusory to fade away. This is how, energetically, you gradually bring yourself into the moonlight.
Use imagination. This is your ready magic wand to deepen your experience. Imagine that a diamond-pure Full Moon appears in the sky of your heart. Meditate on this inner Moon. Perhaps you see it as part of a nature scene, with the Moon being reflected on the surface of a serene lake. If you also have a view of the outer Moon, in the sky above or appearing through a window, notice the resonance between these two, the imagined and the real. This alters the energetic egg around your body. Notice how, subtly or powerfully, your inner and outer Moons both expand. Eventually they meet each other and become one Moon.
Can you sense something like crystal light in the air around you? Perhaps there’s a sound. Tune into the cellular level of your body. Can you experience the way your cells are radiating too? Your mind should be quite relaxed by now. Let any remaining details of your self fall away. Dissolve your opinions, needs, and sorrows. Feel into this reality where you’re one with wild and pure moonlight.
Stay with this as long as you feel comfortable. Then, slowly, return to your individual consciousness. It may help to drink a little water. Make sure you’re well-grounded before rising and getting into motion. Massage your feet. Before standing, behold. Notice three things in your immediate environment that you’re grateful for.
Throughout the month, keep the memory of this Vesak Full Moon, like a secret, in your heart.
Which Moon were you born under? Find out with your free moon phase report in Mooncircles’ Chartplay.
Got a birthday coming up? Be sure to order your Solar Return!