Wesak Day celebrations this year will be muted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Ministry of National Unity, no devotees will be allowed to make temple visits in a bid to help stop the spread of the virus. There will also be no decorated float processions.
I know it is difficult to be unable to celebrate Wesak with family members at temples as we did the years before COVID-19. However, this must be done to battle the pandemic.
Hence, I urge my fellow Buddhist devotees to do what is necessary in the interest of safety and health and celebrate Wesak virtually online. I personally know of temples and Buddhist associations that have already geared up to take celebrations and chanting sessions online. We all need to be accustomed to the new norm and fully utilize the digital landscape.
Buddhists nationwide honour Wesak as a holy day which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha. His teaching, among others, is for all to be compassionate. The meaning of compassion resonates now more than ever as humanity faces an uphill battle against COVID-19. We are all reminded of how fragile life is. Hence, I urge everyone to count your blessings, appreciate life and do not take anyone or anything for granted.
Wesak is celebrated by Buddhists, but I urge everyone in the name of national unity, to say a prayer according to your own religion in memory of those who have lost their battle against COVID-19 and also for our frontliners, who are tirelessly placing their duty to the nation before themselves. Give them the strength to soldier on in their fight in keeping Malaysia safe.
I would like to extend a Happy Wesak wish to those who are celebrating and happy holidays to all Malaysians.
Yeap Ming Liong