Vesak - The Celebration of Buddha Purnima by Devotees
Spiritual health and wealth is extremely important for the healthy state of mind. Spiritualism combined with festivities creates the best of aura. Festivals play an important role in bringing out the spiritual aspect of an individual hidden within one's soul. In Hindu religion there are millions of gods who are praised by the human beings on earth. Every god has a story related to its appearance which is mentioned in various Hindu texts. These stories not only inspire but also reveal the facts about our country’s rich cultural heritage.
In a similar way, Buddhist religion follows the path shown by Buddha the Enlightened one and the founder of Buddhism. Buddha according to Vaishnavism is the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu who discovered the concept of self-enlightenment through meditation or yoga. Buddha lived the life of an ascetic and was popular as the religious leader, teacher, preacher and a meditator.
Every individual has the right to celebrate the pious existence of our beloved Gods and their incarnations. To commemorate the birth of Buddha on earth and to continue his legacy Buddha Purnima is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha.
About Buddha Purnima
Siddhartha Gautam was the childhood name of Gautam Buddha who was popularly known as Buddha in his later life. Buddha Purnima today is celebrated as the birthday of Gautam Buddha who was born in 623 B.C. as per the known facts.
Buddha was born as a prince, Siddhartha Gautam, in a royal family in Lumbini near Kapilavastu. He was born in the Shakya clan and his father Suddhodana was the king of the Shakya tribe. Buddha was born in the royal family with the golden spoon and rejoiced in a luxurious life without any difficulties.
Further he faced many difficulties and encountered miseries at the age of 29 years which provoked him to accept the path of self-renunciation. He performed meditation and yoga for many years which opened new horizons for him by attaining him the stage of self-enlightenment.
After acquiring success in gaining peace, harmony and self-renunciation by walking on the path of self-discipline Buddha sacrificed his life for the well being of others. He started travelling and preaching to people suffering from miseries, sorrows, diseases and other problems throughout the globe.
In this way he transformed the life of many people and helped in the development of the entire society.
As per the Hindu Lunar calendar, Buddha Purnima is also known as Buddha Jayanti. The day of celebration is not precisely known but it is usually celebrated as a part of Vesak, the festival which celebrates the enlightenment day. It is a full moon day which is mostly celebrated in East and South East Asia.
How to celebrate Buddha Purnima
Buddha Purnima is a grand celebration throughout the globe especially among Buddhists. Buddha is believed to be the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu so has a special place in the hearts of Hindus too.
Celebration involves decoration of Buddhist temples by monks, priests and Buddhists devotees. The decoration is done with the help of flowers, candles, ribbons and colourful clothes. Also huge fairs are organised around the temple area by people where clothes, food, toys and other essential attractive items are sold.
Nowadays, the trend of festive celebration has changed a lot which involves several cultural events within the community or locality. Important events and incidents of Buddha’s life-history are enacted by children and other participants.
Rituals on Buddha Purnima in India
Common rituals involve the display of Buddha’s life-history in the form of plays, dramas, his preaching, stories and performing yoga and meditation. These activities are done to highlight the contribution and sacrifice done by Buddha for the entire mankind. The basic rituals are mostly followed by Buddhists monks and priests when special prayers, Buddha’s preaching and stories of his enlightenment are recited by them.
Devotees visit Buddhist shrines and temples where flowers, sweets especially milk porridge (Kheer) and fruits are offered in the temple.
At some places a strict dress code of pure white attire is followed while at other places it is liberal.
At some places, special yoga exercises are performed by yoga gurus to remember Buddha and continue his spiritual legacy.
Buddha Purnima is celebrated in India mostly by Buddhists residing in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Ladakh, Bodh Gaya, Darjeeling and Maharashtra.