Buddha Purnima: Birth of the Religious Legend Gautama Buddha
Buddha Purnima, also known as Buddha Jayanti, is the day when Gautama Buddha was born on the full moon day of Vaisakha. Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama, a Prince, on the Purnima Tithi, the full moon day in 563 BC, in Lumbini. Lumini is a region in modern-day Nepal. As Gautama Buddha was born on full moon day, this day is also known as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Pournami. The Sanskrit word “Purnima” means “full moon day“. Let’s know about the history, significance, date and time of Buddha Purnima.
Buddha Purnima 2022 Date and Time
Because Buddha Purnima is based on the Asian Lunisolar calendar, the precise day varies from year to year. Though it usually falls on the Hindu month of Vaishaka on the full moon day, the date in the western gregorian calendar varies. Buddha Jayanti 2022 will mark Gautama Buddha’s 2584th Birth Anniversary. This year, Buddha Purnima falls on May 16, 2022. The Tithi of Buddha Purnima will begin at 12:45 pm on May 15 and will end at 09:43 am on May 16.
Buddha Jayanti is the day of three significant events. It is said that Buddha was born and attained Mahaparinirvana leaving the mortal coils on the same day as Buddha Purnima having lived on this planet for 80 years. Also, Buddha attained enlightenment on this day. The day of his birth anniversary is also known as Vesak or Buddha Day.
Buddha was born as the Prince of Kapilavastu, and his parents named him Siddhartha. A prophecy before his birth stated that he would either become a great emperor or a renowned ascetic. The royal family restricted the crown prince to the palace gateways out of fear of losing him. Siddhartha stepped out of the palace for the first time at the age of 29, only to see a deceased man, an older guy, and a dead body on the way.
The Three Wisdoms or Tevijja
These three pearls of wisdom helped him understand that life is full of suffering and that it is only a passing phase. Siddhartha immediately abandoned the royal life in quest of truth in intense meditation deep inside the wild woods. When Siddhartha reached enlightenment or Nirvana, he was bestowed the most prestigious title, ‘Gautama Buddha‘. However, Bodh Gaya gets the most number of pilgrims on this day.
Buddha Purnima Celebrations
Over the years, Buddha Purnima has turned into a social, religious, spiritual and also cultural festival. Some of the events organised on this day include Bodhidroom Mela, Sutrasraban, Sutrapath, Ashtasheel, Panchasheel, religious speeches and discussions on the Buddhist scriptures, meditation, worship of the Buddha statues, processions and prayer recitals. The festivities might extend anywhere from three days to a week.
Celebration in Bodh Gaya
On the day of Buddha Purnima, the people of Bodh Gaya dress festively. Thousands of worshippers have been spotted coming to this most popular place. After washing the Buddha statue with holy water, Buddhists worship, honour, and celebrate the day in several ways.
People gather for group meditations and vow to follow their revered master’s teachings in letter and spirit. Buddha Purnima commemorates Buddha’s significant contribution to the lives of mankind on Earth and serves to instil his message in the hearts of millions across the world.
How Buddhist celebrate Buddha Purnima
Buddhists present flowers, agarbatti, fruits, and candles to Buddha. Cleansing the Buddha sculptures with holy water. On this day, Buddhists do a variety of charitable donations, including the distribution of money, food, and other necessities to the poor.
Celebration in Different Countries
Buddhists in Burma water the Bodhi trees and pay their respects to them, recalling Buddha’s enlightenment under this tree. People in Sri Lanka adorn their homes with oil lamps. They exhibit stars hung on bamboo sticks.
On this day, a unique procession of monks is a popular event in Gangtok, India. After a traditional wash, Buddhists in Japan adorn the Buddha statue with spring flowers.
Significance of Buddha Jayanti
Buddha Purnima is one of the most sacred Buddhist, joyous events in honour of Gautama Buddha. The ‘Enlightened One‘, having surpassed ‘Karma‘, became free of the cycle of birth and reincarnation.
He was a phenomenal being, a spiritual guide, religious leader, and meditator. He attained enlightenment after continuous meditation for 49 days under the Bodhi (Banyan) tree in the Bodh Gaya and unravelled the secret to ending the ‘suffering’.
The solution, he said, lay in the four noble truths Gautama delivered in his first sermon in Sarnath. Tathagata is another name for Shakyamuni (Sage of the Shakyas). Also known as the ‘Fully Awakened One‘. He preached ‘Dharma’, nonviolence, kindness, and harmony path to ‘Nirvana‘ for 45 years.
Lord Buddha’s teaching, a compilation named ‘Suttas’ created a new religion “Buddhism”. Despite being born into a royal family, he relinquished the luxurious life and left home at the age of 30, led a life of penance, and austerity, in search of the truth that liberates one from the pangs of suffering (Duhkha).
According to Hindu traditions, Buddha is the Ninth Avatar (Reincarnation) of Lord Vishnu. Buddhist groups and monasteries across the world offer prayers, chant, meditate, observe, fast, discuss his speeches, and treasure his teachings. The practise of bathing in the holy Ganges on Buddha Jayanti is based on the notion that it takes away sins.
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