Why Buddha Purnima is celebrated | Significance of Buddha Purnima | Why Vesak day is celebrated | Why Buddha Poornima is celebrated | How Buddha Purnima is celebrated
Gautama Buddha was the founder of Buddhism. “Buddha Purnima” or “Vesak” or “Buddha Day” or “Buddha Jayanti” is celebrated to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition.
Lord Buddha was born on the full moon day and interestingly attained enlightenment on the same day. Coincidentally, Lord Buddha leave his body, also on the same day. That’s why Buddha Poornima commemorates his birth, enlightenment and death.
The exact date of Buddha’s birth is based on the Asian lunisolar calendars. Usually, it falls on the full moon day in April / May every year.
It is observed in many parts of the world on different days. Historically, in 1950, at the conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Sri Lanka, the day of Vesak was formalized to be celebrated as Buddha’s birthday.
In 2018, Buddha Purnima is celebrated on:
- 29 April – Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar and Bangladesh
- 30 April – India
- 29 May – Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia
Buddha’s Birthday is observed on the full moon day. That’s why it is celebrated as Buddha Purnima in India and Nepal. “Purnima” is the Indian and Nepali word for full moon.
In Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India, a large fair is held where the relics of Buddha are showcased to the public in a procession. Sarnath is the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon after enlightenment.
Apart from Sarnath, Buddha Purnima is also celebrated with great enthusiasm in Gaya and Kushinagar and in other parts of India and around the globe.
Lord Gautama Buddha was born in c. 563 or c. 480 BCE in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal.
At the age of 35, Gautama attained enlightenment (nirvana) under the famous Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya (in modern-day Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar).
He delivered his first sermon at Sarnath, India & at the age of 80, he died in Kushinagar, India.
4 Noble Truths, Eightfold Path and the Middle Way:
He taught the world about the “4 Noble Truths” which are:
- The truth of suffering (Dukkha)
- The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya)
- The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha)
- The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)
Buddha told that the cessation of suffering is possible through the “Noble Eightfold Path”. It consists of eight practices:
- Right View
- Right Resolve
- Right Speech
- Right Conduct
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness and
- Right samadhi (‘meditative absorption or union’).
A Dharma Wheel (or Dharma Chakra) represents the“Noble Eightfold Path”. It is a wooden wheel with eight spokes. It represents Buddha’s teaching on the path to enlightenment.
Gautama Buddha taught the world, “The Middle Way” between extreme sensual indulgence and severe asceticism.