Monks celebrate Buddha’s birthday

Monks celebrate Buddha’s birthday

Venerable Cunda. Photograph - Richard Polden

Vesak was celebrated across Australia this week as Wednesday, May 19 marked the occasion; the Cambodian Buddhist Monastery in Kelmscott commemorated the day with a special celebration.

Vesak, commonly known as Buddha’s Birthday, is the day of the full moon in May and is the most sacred day to Buddhists around the world.

On the day of Vesak, Buddha was born and years later it was the same day he attained enlightenment and it is also believed he passed away on the day of Vesak in his eightieth year.

The Cambodian Buddhist Monastery held a special celebration that included a ceremony that started at 10.30am with chanting, dana was offered  to the monks, a blessings chant from the monks followed, before a short meditation and dhamma talk proceeded.

At 12pm there was a shared lunch and a procession of light around the Vihara.

Monks are peaceful people who practise monastic living, this means they do not handle money, do not cook for themselves, and they need to be offered food and other requisites by the lay community.

Monks also do not drive or get paid for their service and instead they offer a gift of Dhamma back to the community, which is the sharing of their wisdom from their practise of meditation.

They teach mindfulness meditation, which is held at the Kelmscott Monastery from 7pm to 8pm on Monday evenings.

Monks teach mindfulness meditation and spiritual counselling in return for the requisites, which includes clothing, food, medicine and shelter.

Monks keep no possessions; they live a very simple existence.

Due to theft of donations previously, all donations to the Cambodian Buddhist Monastery in Kelmscott are done online.

To find out more about the Kelmscott monastery visit

Photographs  – Richard Polden.