Thousands of Budhists stage parade for Waisak Day

Borobudur, C Java (ANTARA News) - Tens of thousands of Buddhists joined monks from various communities in a procession to mark the Waisak Day, from Mendut Temple to Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, on Saturday afternoon.

They brought flowers while senior monks rode a float in the form of a vessel carrying the relic of the Buddha.

Along the route of the procession, led by the general chairperson of the Indonesian Buddhist Association (Walubi), Siti Hartati Murdaya, the monks splashed the water of blessings while other participants spread red and rose flower petals.

Various kinds of the Waisak service equipment were also carried in the procession from 2.00pm to 3.30pm including blessing water, service flame, the Tripitaka holy book, and other properties symbolizing rounds of dharma (services).

Several Buddhists in the procession were also seen carrying various kinds of flags including the national red and white flag, and the Walubi flag, while several traditional art troupes were also seen highlighting the event.

Various queues of people in traditional Javanese costume were carrying huge piles of agricultural produce in the shape of cones, while other young male and female teenagers in traditional costumes from various parts of the country were seen participating.

Monks who walked in the procession were flanked by special guards holding umbrellas with a long holder.

The weather in the afternoon was very bright and so many people living around the neighborhood as well as domestic and foreign tourists came to watch the procession along the route.

Police and military personnel were seen guarding the event all along the route.

Edy Setijono, the president director of PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko, earlier said that the Borobudur Temple had remained open for tourists during the event.

Visitors, however, had been advised to maintain peace and order to respect Buddhists who were conducting prayers and other religious rites.

The chairman of the Central Java Walubi chapter, David Hermanjaya, welcomed Buddhists and monks at the gate of the temple grounds.

The chief of the Thai Dhamaduta monk in Indonesia, Bante Wongsin Labhiko Mahathera, said Buddhists and monks who conducted the procession would put various kinds of offerings at the main altar set up at the Borobudur Temple grounds.

"The offerings are symbols of respect to the Buddha," he said.

The Waisak Day commemorates three important stages in the life of the Buddha including his birth, enlightenment and death.

The peak time of the rites will occur during the full moon early Sunday morning where Buddhists and monks will conduct a service, meditation and pradaksina (circumambulation) at the temple grounds.(*)