Religious Affairs Minister Issues Guidelines for Vesak Day Prayers during Pandemic

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation
Date 21 Mei 2021
Category: News
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Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas. (Photo by: Secretariat Cabinet PR)

Ahead of Vesak Day 2565 on 27 May 2021, Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas issued Circular Number 11 of 2021 on guidelines for Vesak Day prayers during COVID-19 pandemic.

“The guidelines were issued to provide security to the Buddhists observing Puja Bhakti and Dharmasanti rituals during Vesak Day 2565,” the Minister said on Friday (21/5).

He also called on the Ministry to disseminate the guidelines to wider public, particularly to Buddhist organizations or councils, members of Sangha (Buddhist community), management of places of worship, and the Buddhists in Indonesia.

The guidelines to observe Puja Bhakti and Dharmasanti rituals during the pandemic are as follows:

  1. Social works such as Karya Bhakti (devotional works) at heroes cemetery and social services which are done to welcome the Vesak Day must comply with the following provisions:
    1. Ensuring that the participants in that event are in good health;
    2. All participants are obliged to wear face masks, maintain safe distance, avoid crowd, do Anjali greeting (press palms together in front of the chest), and follow strict health protocols;
    3. The number of people participating in the event should not exceed 30 percent of the capacity of the places in order to maintain safe distance;
    4. Shortening the time of services.
  2. Puja Bhakti prayer and meditation before Vesak Day must be observed by following these provisions:
    1. Puja Bhakti prayer and meditation before Vesak on 26 May 2021 at 13.30 Western Indonesian Time can be performed at home or public places;
    2. The series of events ahead of Vesak Day for example to collect water and fire that involve many people will be eliminated;
    3. Puja Bhakti prayer and meditation before Vesak may be observed at places of worship or public spaces but only limited to members of sangha and/or managers of places of worship and some Buddhist by taking into account these following rules:
      1. Places of worship and public spaces must be located in green or yellow zones;
      2. Ensure all participants in the events are in good health;
      3. All participants are obliged to wear face masks, maintain safe distance, avoid crowd, do Anjali greeting, and follow strict health protocols;
      4. The number of people participating in the events should not exceed 30 percent of the capacity of the places in order to maintain safe distance; and
      5. Shortening the time of services.
    4. Buddhists are advised to perform Puja Bhakti prayer and meditation before Vesak at home; and
    5. Buddhist organizations or councils can utilize technology/social media and/or facilitate Vesak Day prayers and services through live streaming.
  3. Dharmasanti ritual must be observed by following these provisions:
    1. It can be observed through online (virtual) media or offline events; and
    2. If the ritual is performed through offline meeting, it must be done by adhering to the health protocols, such as:
      1. Places of worship and public spaces must be located in green or yellow zones;
      2. Ensure all participants in the events are in good health;
      3. All participants are obliged to wear face masks, maintain safe distance, avoid crowd, do Anjali greeting, and follow strict health protocols;
      4. The number of people participating in the events should not exceed 30 percent of the capacity of the places of worship in order to maintain safe distance; and
      5. Shortening the time of services.
  1. Before observing the Puja Bhakti prayer and meditation before Vesak, committee that organizes the events must coordinate with local governments and related institutions to ensure zonation status of each area and to ensure the health protocols are well-implemented.
  2. Friendly visit must be made within close family. The public are not allowed to conduct an open house.
  3. In the event of extreme case of COVID-19, the implementation of this Circular will be adjusted to the latest condition.

(MINISTRY OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS PR/UN) (RAS/MMB)

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