Buddha Purnima is a special day celebrated every year in the Vedic month of Baisakhi or Vishaka. On a full moon night in 563 BC the great spiritual leader Gautam Buddha, ‘the Enlightened one’ was born. In 2014, Buddha Purnima falls on 14th day of May
Essence of the day:
This is the day on which Gautam Buddha was born. On this very day he attained enlightenment and later at the age of eighty, he passed away. He was one of the great human beings whose kindness and compassion for living beings became a spectacle on earth and his acts were equivalent to acts of God. His love for life, and desire to end suffering from human life drove him away from all worldly pleasures of a princely life and he became a wandering monk for many years.
Knowing Gautam Buddha and learning about his life and teachings is enlightening for others too. It brings awareness about true nature of human life. Those who are confused about their life or those who wishes to understand the spiritual aspect of life, Buddha stands as monumental figure. His struggles to search for a meaning in life bring about a realization of the true nature of a human soul.
How Buddha Purnima is observed:
For Buddhists, it is a day to realize the teachings of Buddha by engaging in discussions and observing calmness in life through practices of meditation. In India, the Maha Bodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, several monasteries in Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh, the Buddhist stupas of Orissa see devotees coming in to pray at the statues of Buddha. Buddha temples all over the world are decorated with flowers and illuminated with colorful lights. In Sri Lanka, colorful candles are hung outside homes. In Japan, small Buddhist idols are placed at the shrine and consecrated whereas in Myanmar Bodhi trees are watered and worshipped. In countries like Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia people also donate food and clothes to the needy.
The religion of Buddhism:
After awakening himself of worldly wisdom, Buddha returned to his people and engaged himself in the service of people. He and his disciples devoted themselves to end the cause of suffering in life. He taught his wisdom to people through various instances of their life to bring awareness about life. His life is an example to mankind and the religion of Buddhism developed based on his teachings and wisdom that he gifted people to transcend unhappy and negative aspect of life.
Buddha’s teachings have been canonized by his disciples and followed as strict religious practice in many countries such as Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Nepal, Mayanmar, Bhutan, Cambodia and India. His teachings essentially are a call to adopt Middle path in life that means shunning extreme ways of indulgence either in joy or in mortification. His message to the world is the Four Noble Truths and his guidance to live an ideal life is consecrated as The Eight Fold Path.
Buddha’s teachings help in attaining peace of mind and then in developing wisdom and compassion for the world around. He has tried to make his disciples understand life through experience and constant effort to make their mind bloom as beautiful flowers.
Realizing teachings of Buddha:
Siddhartha was a happy prince who lived amidst abundance in the Kingdom of Kapilavastu. One day, at the age of 29, he left behind his wife, son and father and became a wandering monk in search for truth – Why man has to grow old, suffer pains of disease and eventually die?!
Like a youth of today, he was confused about what he saw in the world around. He wanted clarity and an understanding which he decided to seek himself. He was so determined in his mission that he returned to his people only after an awakening. His constant efforts awakened him about the truth of human life – and how to end suffering.
Thereafter, he guided people to understand and address problems of their immediate situations in order to transcend negative states of mind. He taught the art of living that would clear confusions of mind and help people focus on what they desire to achieve in their lives.