Updated May 19th, 2024 at 13:58 IST

Buddha Purnima 2024: Why Is The Festival Celebrated?

Buddha Purnima celebrates the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini (modern-day Nepal) around 563 BCE.

Buddha Purnima | Image:Freepik
Advertisement

Buddha Purnima, also known as Vesak or Buddha Jayanti, is one of the most significant festivals in the Buddhist calendar. Celebrated by millions of Buddhists around the world, it marks the birth, enlightenment, and death (Parinirvana) of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. This sacred day falls on the full moon day of the Vaisakha month according to the Hindu lunar calendar, making it a time of great spiritual reflection and reverence. It will be celebrated on 23rd May this year.

Significance of Buddha Purnima

Let us know why celebrating Buddha Purnima is so important for millions of devotees.

Commemorating the birth of Buddha

Buddha Purnima celebrates the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini (modern-day Nepal) around 563 BCE. According to legend, his birth was marked by miraculous signs, including blooming flowers and a peaceful aura enveloping the surroundings. Prince Siddhartha's life took a pivotal turn when he renounced his royal privileges to seek the truth about human suffering, a journey that ultimately led him to enlightenment and the establishment of Buddhism.

Lord Buddha | Image: Freepik

Celebrating enlightenment

Buddha Purnima also commemorates the day Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India. After years of rigorous ascetic practices and meditation, he achieved profound insight into the nature of existence, the causes of suffering, and the path to liberation. This enlightenment transformed him into the Buddha, or "the Awakened One," who then dedicated his life to teaching the Dharma, or the universal truth.

Observing parinirvana

The day also marks the Buddha's Parinirvana, or his final passing away, in Kushinagar, India. After over 45 years of spreading his teachings, the Buddha passed into Nirvana at the age of 80, leaving behind a legacy of wisdom and compassion. His teachings continue to guide millions in their quest for inner peace and enlightenment.

Spiritual observances

On Buddha Purnima, Buddhists engage in various spiritual practices to honor the Buddha's life and teachings. These include attending sermons and chanting sessions at monasteries, meditating, and participating in processions and prayer services. Devotees often reflect on the Buddha's teachings of non-violence, compassion, and the middle path.

Acts of kindness

Charitable activities and acts of kindness are integral to the celebrations. Buddhists believe in performing good deeds (karma) to accumulate merit. This may involve donating to the needy, offering food to monks, releasing animals from captivity, and engaging in community service.

Symbolic rituals

Many temples and households observe symbolic rituals such as bathing Buddha statues, which signifies the purification of the mind. Offerings of flowers, candles, and incense are made to the Buddha, symbolising the transient nature of life. The day is often marked by vegetarian meals to promote non-violence and respect for all living beings.

Advertisement

Published May 19th, 2024 at 13:58 IST