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Festivals - Buddha Purnima
 

Buddha Purnima


Buddha Jayanti in 2012 date falls on Sunday, 6th May in India though the dates may vary for other countries.

Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima is the most revered festival of the Buddhists. The word Purnima means a full moon day. It is observed as the birth anniversary of Lord Gautam Buddha, the originator of Buddhism. This day generally falls on a full moon day in the month of April or May.

Legend of Buddha Jayanti
Gautam Buddha or Siddhartha was born in 563 BC to King Suddhodhana, the king of Lumbini in Nepal and his wife Mayadevi. At the age of 16, he married a girl named Yashodhara and after a few years they had a son who was named Rahul. One night he renounced his wife, family and kingdom and went in search of ‘Bodhi’, the celestial knowledge. He wanted to end the human sufferings of old age, sickness and death. One day he sat for meditation under a sacred treed called ‘Bodhi Briksha’ and gained enlightenment at the age of 36. Thereafter he preached extreme penance and austerity to attain Nirvana which became known as Buddhism. Kings like Ashoka became his devotee and preached Buddhism across the world.

Ritual and celebration of Buddha Jayanti
On the day of Buddha Purnima, devout Buddhists assemble before Buddha temples to witness the hoisting of Buddhist flag. Praises and hymns are sung in honor of Lord Buddha, his Dharma or teachings and the Sangha, union of his disciples. Buddhists wear white dresses and spend their day in meditation. Devotees lay offerings of flowers and light candles at the feet of their great teacher. This, in a way symbolizes the brevity of human life.

Significance of Buddha Jayanti
Lord Gautam Buddha is considered to be the 9th incarnation of Brahma, the Lord of all cosmos according to Hindu mythology. Buddha Poornima is celebrated to commemorate the 3 most important events in the life of Lord Buddha, that of his birth in 623 BC, his enlightenment or attainment of wisdom through meditation in 558 BC and his attainment of Nirvana or freedom from the cycles of life and death at the age of 80.

 
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