Commemorating Vesak Day, Shinnyo-en Singapore Youths Participate in Interfaith Community Service

June 09, 2018

Vesak is the day, when Theravada Buddhists commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha Shakyamuni. Every spring, Shinnyo-en Singapore, while being rooted in Mahayana Buddhism, celebrates Vesak according to local Theravada Buddhist traditions.

This year, the Vesak celebration coincided with Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. It is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, introspection and prayer.

To commemorate the special coinciding of Vesak Day in the month of Ramadan this year, youths from Shinnyo-en Singapore teamed up with young people of different faiths and cultures to volunteer as a team in their shared communities. The entire initiative was documented on social media, further spreading the positive shared message of interfaith collaboration.

Together, the group of 70 interfaith youth volunteers demonstrated more than 120 acts of kindness, from picking up litter to working with the elderly. Impressively, the group cooked and packed large amounts of porridge at a mosque for distribution to needy members of the community, an important part of what the mosque does as part of its Ramadan tradition.

The leading newspaper in Singapore; The Straits Times also featured the collaboration and the generous giving of their time from these youths.

As part of the celebrations, these young inter-faith volunteers together with the Mayor of the South East district in Singapore also visited the Shinnyo-en Singapore temple to learn about Shinnyo Buddhism.

Altruism is a core belief of Shinnyo-en, and our members are encouraged to become involved in society and learn how to better serve others without being attached to specific rewards or results.

Her Holiness Shinso Ito has told us that, "making a contribution does not only mean donating one's time or money: it also means to live actively amongst others. It is to be engaged with the surrounding community.”

We thank our Shinnyo-en Singapore youth for their contributions to interfaith work, and for continuing to foster generosity of spirit in giving back to their community.