Buddhist monks and novice monks, also known as sāmaṇera, celebrated Vesak in Batu, Malang, East Java, on Tuesday, by giving food and drink to Muslims.
Standing in front of the Dammadipa Arama Vihara on Jl. Raya Ma, they distributed packages of sugary delicacies for breaking the fast, known locally as tajil, to people passing through the area on Tuesday afternoon.
Vesak celebration organizing committee head Yudi Murdana said a string of events were held for a whole day prior to a ceremony to celebrate Tri Suci Waisak, the Buddhist Day of Enlightenment, at the Dammadipa Arama Vihara on Tuesday evening.
He said the committee had canceled a cultural parade usually held to celebrate the Vesak holiday, because it coincided with the Ramadhan fasting month.
“During a cultural parade, we usually carry the statue of Buddha walking around villages near the vihara and stage traditional cultural performances. The cultural parade was first held in 2014, and it is the first time in 2018 that Vesak Day coincides with Ramadhan,” said Yudi.
“To show our tolerance and respect to our Muslim sisters and brothers, we canceled the cultural parade and replaced it with the distribution of tajil for motorists and motorcyclists,” he went on.
Yudi said Tri Suci Waisak peaked at 9:19:13 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
Eko Setiadarma, a sāmaṇera from Palu, Central Sulawesi, praised the event. “I’ve studied at Dammadipa Arama Vihara for just one year, and this is my first experience to distribute food packages to fasting Muslims. I’m happy that we can help followers of other religions. This is part of Buddha’s teachings, which encourage Buddhists to keep showing goodness to other people, regardless of their ethnicity, religion and social background,” said Eko. (ebf)