Indians is a very diverse nation with people following various religions and faiths. Given this, many festivals and religious holy days are celebrated while carrying out the rituals related to them throughout the year. Every festival and holy day has its own significance and meaning. One of these holy days is Buddha Purnima 2020, which will be observed on 7th May, 2020. It is celebrated on a full moon day in either April or May every year.
The Legend behind Buddha Purnima Status
It all started when Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in a royal lineage in Lumbini (now, Nepal) and raised in Kapilavastu. Right after his birth, an astrologer predicted that either the Prince will become a great king or he will denounce his position and leave this material life behind. Due to the fear that the Prince might leave his kingdom, his Father, King Suddhona, never allowed the Prince to step out of the Palace or come across any of the harsh realities of the world. He wanted his son to take his legacy forward and rule his kingdom to become a great king.
But, the destiny has laid out a different path for him. One day, at the age of 29, he went out for a tour of his kingdom and saw the world through his own eyes. It is said that he saw what is called the four sights. The first sight was that of an old man who was weak and frail which represented that no man is forever young.
The second and third sight we’re that of a sick man and then a corpse, showing how illness can affect anyone and can also eventually lead to death; death being a result of old age as well. The fourth and final sight was of a holy man, peaceful and unaffected by all the sufferings.
He went back to his palace and realised how his father kept him unaware of all these sufferings in this world and this made him very upset. He decided to denounce everything and go seek the truth. One day he left the palace and even his wife and child to go find the truth.
Even after spending years in poverty and spiritual enlightenment in search of the truth, he couldn’t find the answers to his questions. So he vowed to sit under a tree until all his questions were answered. This led him into avoiding temptation for material life as well as other affairs in the world and he finally became enlightened with the truths of life. He started writing all of these creating the religion known as Buddhism.
It is this day of enlightenment that marks Gautam Buddha Jayanti or Gautam Budhha Birthday. It is known to have been on the day of the full moon and therefore is also called Buddha Purnima in Hindi.
According to the Hindu mythology, this day is also celebrated with great faith and devotion in Hinduism because it is believed that Lord Buddha is the 9th incarceration of the Hindu God, Lord Vishnu. But this is still a very debatable topic.
How is Buddha Purnima celebrated?
Buddhists celebrate Buddha Purnima or Gautam Buddha Jayanti all over the world. The devotees of Gautam Buddha or the followers of Buddhism visit the various Buddhist shrines and take part in Budhha’s worship by reciting hymns, sermons and offering flowers and candles to the idol of Buddha in the monastery, which is kept inside a basin of water.
Buddha Purnima status in India is also considered auspicious and hence celebrated by visiting the Viharas and observing the Buddhist sutra (service).
As Buddhists do no eat none vegetarian food, one of the delicacies served on Gautam Buddha birthday is Kheer.
Buddha Purnima wishes are also exchanged by the devotees as this is the biggest day for them for the three main events of Gautam Buddha’s journey – birth, enlightenment as well as attainment of Paraniravana – took place on this day. Hence, this is also recognised as the Thrice Blessed Festival in Buddhism.
This Thrice Blessed festival or as we call it Buddha Purnima in Hindi, is also a gazetted holiday in India. The lighting of diyas, doing meditation and bathing the Buddha’s idol is another way in which Buddhists come together and give out Buddha Purnima wishes.
Some Teachings of Buddha
These are some teachings or rather called principles of life that were given by Buddha after he attained enlightenment. They are briefly combined into The Four Noble Truths.
Suffering is common : everyone in this world suffers in one way or the other.
Cause of these sufferings : sufferings is caused due to self, greed, desires and ignorance.
End of these sufferings : renunciation of greed and ignorance of all sorts
Path to end suffering : Eightfold path of life, i.e., Right Knowledge, Right Attitude, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Awareness, and Right Meditation.
- His advocated the state of Nirvana because he believed that when the would is in the state of Nirvana, it reunites with its pure state and stops wandering in forms of incarnation.
- Before you criticize others, you should first turn to yourself and see what you are doing.
- The most important rules of life are the five precepts –
- Respecting life and hence, no killing.
- Respecting other’s property and hence, no stealing.
- Respecting pure nature and therefore, no sexual misconduct.
- Respecting honesty and hence, no lying.
- Respecting the clear mind, therefore, no intoxicants.
Buddha Purnima 2020 will be celebrated on May 7th. Although, this year the usual way of celebrating Gautam Buddha birthday will not be observed due to the given situation. But as it is said, it is not necessary to visit a monastery or worship an idol to receive the blessings of God for God resides in the hearts of those who believe in him.
People can still light candles and diyas inside their homes and pray and worship to Lord Buddha for a better and peaceful world and to end this suffering we are experiencing all over the world.