Here, it is fascinating to note that Buddha achieved enlightenment and nirvana (salvation) on the similar day (the Full Moon day). Thus, Buddha Purnima also marks the death anniversary of Gautam Buddha. Sarnath holds a significant place in Buddhism as Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath.
At the moment of Buddha Jayanti, a big fair is held at Sarnath and the relics of the Buddha are taken out for public shows in a procession. Besides Sarnath, the Buddha Purnima is also commemorated with devout fervor at Gaya and Kushinagar and another piece of India and the world.
The Buddha Purnima festivity at Sarnath attracts big Buddhist audiences as Buddhists offer prayers in various Buddhist temples at Sarnath on this day. Prayers, sermons, recitation of Buddhist scriptures are other significant devotes activities performed by the Buddhists at Sarnath. Monks and devotees meditate and worship the statue of Gautam Buddha.
THE DIVINE LIFE OF GAUTAM BUDDHA
He was an actual ancient figure, a prince of the Shakalyas, the people of a little state bordering modern India and Nepal. He lived in a time of opulence and social up heal. At the age of sixteen, Siddhratha married a beautiful woman and they had a son.
The turning point in his life came when Siddhartha was twenty-nine and he dare outside the palace grounds. He was caught by the sufferings of the world, left his wife, son and riches to become a wandering austere in the search for enlightenment.
He wandered to multiple places and eventually at the age of thirty-five he coming at Bodh Gaya, where he sat beneath a tree. He promises that he would not rise until he had found enlightenment. After forty-nine days of solitary meditation, he attained nirvana, the state of stability.
CELEBRATIONS AND RITUALS
The main festivity of Buddha jayanti takes place in Bodh gaya. For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most significant pilgrimage site associated with the life of Gautama Buddha. Bodh Gaya is a little town in Gaya district of Bihar in India.
On this big number of Buddhist devotees from all over the world assemble to pay their honor fully homage to Lord Buddha. Besides adorning the temple and the area around with colorful Buddhist flags, Buddhists adorn their houses with lights, candles and diyas.
After the Morning Prayer, colorful parades of the Monks, worship with big offerings, distribution of sweets and snacks takes place. On this day the Buddhists bathe and dress up only white clothes. People provide incense, flowers, candles and fruits to the statue of Lord Buddha.
The Mahabodhi tree, also called as the “pipal-tree” or the holy fig tree is worshipped and provided offerings too. This is called to be the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Traditionally, Buddhists are pure vegetarians. Those who are non-vegetarians do not eat meat on this day.
Kheer, a sweet-dish, is planned at homes. Freeing of birds from cages is also a practice according various places. They expend their entire day listening to discourses on the life and teachings of the Buddha.
FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
The Four Noble Truths are the creators of Buddhism. The Buddha’s first sermon later his Enlightenment centered on these Four Noble Truths –
All human situations lead to suffering,
Suffering has a reason,
That reason is craving, or, desire,
There is a path to the cessation of suffering.
THE EIGHTFOLD PATH
The Fourth Noble Truth is the Eightfold Path
Right Behavior (avoid blameworthy behaviors)
Right Livelihood (some occupations e.g. butcher, publican, were disparaged!!!)
Right Effort (towards the good)
Right Contemplation (of the Truth)
Right Concentration (will result from following the Noble Eightfold Path)
Buddhism trust that a person can start to move in the right direction by taking total ‘refuge’. And, also, by adopting five fundamental moral principles:
Not misusing sex
Not abusing intoxicants
SIGNIFICANCE OF VESAK
Buddha Purnima or Vesak is the one important day when Buddhists all over the world celebrate the important vents of Buddhism, i.e., the birth, enlightenment and passing away of their spiritual leader. The festivity of Vesak generally takes place on the Full moon in the month of May following to the Gregorian calendar.
Buddha Purnima is one of the most widely commemorate fete in this devout and Buddhists visits temple and other places of devout important on this day to commemorate the two main virtues of Buddhism, kindness and non-violence.
Apart from according the teachings of Gautam Buddha, the day is also commemorated by displaying the dharma chakra or the wheel of Buddha’s teaching. While Buddha Purnima is day Gautam Buddha was born, this day commemorates the entire life and teachings of Gautam Buddha.
The creator of Buddhism, Gautama is said to have lived a complete life and died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India. Gautam Buddha is trusting to have accepted his enlightenment at the devout site of Bodh Gaya in Bihar, India, and it is considered as one of the most popular Buddhist pilgrims that are filled with devotees on this favourable day.
HISTORY OF BUDDHA PURNIMA
Buddha Purnima has been a custom festivity in the Mahayana Buddhism for centuries. Following to the Theravada Tripitaka scriptures, Gautam Buddha was born in 563 BCE in Lumbini which is a piece of modern day Nepal.
Vesak was first considered as Buddha Purnima in 1950 when the first meeting of the World Fellowship of Buddhists made this resolution in Sri Lanka. 49 years after this resolution, the United Nations, identify the festivity of Vesak as Buddha Purnima in 1999.
Government offices, post offices and banks are closed in India on Vesak. Stores and other businesses and institutions may be closed or have decreased opening hours. Transport is generally unaffected as many locals travel for devout festivity.
The dharmacakra or Dharma wheel is a sign frequently seen through Vesak. It is a wooden wheel with eight spokes. The wheel presents Buddha’s teaching on the path to enlightenment. The eight spokes symbolize the noble eightfold path of Buddhism.