Buddha Purnima 2019 - Celebration Of Gautam Buddha's Birth

Buddha Purnima, also known as Buddha Jayanti, is a festival celebrated across the globe to mark the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Siddhartha Buddha, who later also came to be known as Gautam Buddha came from royal lineage but decided to renounce his title after seeing the immense sufferings and pain of humanity. After that, he embarked on a journey of spirituality and abstinence.

Buddha Purnima 2020 Dates

Following the traditional Indian calendar to mark the date of Buddha Purnima on the full moon of the month of Vaisakh, the day falls on different dates of the Gregorian calendar every year. Though the exact dates vary, it almost always falls in April or May. The next Mahotsav at Sarnath, i.e. the upcoming occasion of Buddha Purnima is expected to take place on Thursday, May 7th, 2020.

Significance of Buddha Purnima

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Buddha Purnima falls on the full moon day of Vaisakh (April/May) according to the Hindu calendar. The beauty of this auspicious day is that not only does it mark the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, but it is also the day he achieved salvation (nirvana) and enlightenment. Since Lord Buddha was deemed an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the festival is celebrated by Buddhists with great enthusiasm. Devotees from across the globe visit the Buddhist temples in Sarnath, Bodh Gaya and various other places to commemorate the occasion. Staunch believers of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Karuna (compassion), Buddhists, the disciple of Lord Buddha come together on this day to educate others on the teachings and life experiences of their great leader.

Transformation of the King

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Siddhartha Gautama was born to the King and Queen of Lumbini, Nepal in 563 BC on a full moon night. A naïve young prince, who was raised far from the sufferings of the unfortunate, suddenly came across an older man, a dead body, a sick person and a holy man while travelling in his royal chariot. The young prince, for the very first time, witnessed pain, suffering, and agony so closely. The harsh realities of life struck a cord his heart after which he decided to take a drastic step. He renounced his family, kingdom and all worldly pleasures in the pursuit of finding the true meaning of his life.

Journey to Attain Enlightenment and Nirvana

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At the young age of 29, Gautama Buddha began his expedition for enlightenment. Conquering his distractions, Lord Buddha struggled for six years before actually attaining nirvana. He took the middle path, where neither did he push his body to the extreme, nor was he in denial. He practised 'Dharmakaya' a kind of meditation where you focus on a single-pointed nature of all phenomena.

After this he journeyed to Bodh Gaya, a city in India, where he sat under a Bodhi tree and began Dharmakaya, vowing not to move unless he had attained the right knowledge of life and it's a purpose. Eventually, on a full moon night, Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and nirvana. After years of struggle, he had finally achieved salvation and freed himself from the notion of samsara, the cycle of rebirth.

Teachings of Lord Buddha

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After his enlightenment, Gautama Buddha undertook the initiative to help others realise the truth in their lives. His sermon generally consists of 'The Four Noble Truths' and 'The Eight Fold Path' of life. Laureates quote his experiences and teachings across the world to help people enlighten themselves. As a leader and teacher, Buddha inculcated wisdom in people regarding non-violence and compassion. He brought a new religion for humanity to follow and believe in. His sermons and preaching are etched in the history of time for generations to come.

Buddha Purnima Celebrations 

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Like Gautama Buddha, many men and women, undertake the same path he had taken to achieve peace of mind. His followers come to be known as Buddhists, who celebrate this auspicious day with enthusiasm and zeal. A fair is held at Sarnath, and the enthusiastic devotees adorn relics of Lord Buddha with incense sticks, fruits, flowers, and sweets. Buddhist Monks who devout their life to Buddhism offer special prayers and preach sermons on the teachings of Buddha to the public. The aroma of the incense sticks, the fragrance of fresh flowers and savour of warm kheer marks the purity and importance of this day.
Observances on Buddha Purnima

1. The Bodhi tree is decked up in celebration with garlands, flags and lamps are lit and placed around the tree with holy water sprinkled onto the tree's roots. 
2. Followers recite the Buddhist scriptures and monks and devotees meditate near the Buddha idol.
3. Many offerings in the form of flowers, candles and fruit are made to the temples and the idols on this auspicious day. 

Buddhism, The Religion

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To celebrates the day Siddhartha rose and become Lord Buddha; his followers volunteer themselves for charitable activities. The core motive of Buddhists is to follow non-violence and compassion, so on this day, especially; they donate clothes, food, and essentials to the less fortunate. As an ode to their great leader, Buddhists also refrains from eating any meat, onion, and garlic on this auspicious day. They offer milk sweets like Kheer and sweet porridge to mark the birth anniversary of their chaperone. Buddha Purnima is vehement festival commemorating an unadulterated new beginning for Buddhist followers.
 
Legends say that suffering can teach humans compassion in ways you cannot intercept. Lord Buddha is that example who instils the belief of compassion and perseverance in humanity. In his search for truth, he has set a path for others to follow and attain nirvana themselves. The birth and death anniversary of this Guru is celebrated as Buddha Purnima - a day of Enlightenment.

This post was published by Sneha Virmani

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