Buddh Purnima

Buddh Purnima : perhaps the most significant and revered of all the festivals that are celebrated in the Buddhist faith, it is also known as Buddha Jayanti, or Vesak, and is celebrated far and wide all across Asia, and even in parts of the western world. It is the celebration of the Buddha’s last piece of advice to his Sangha (disciples), that the Dharma (teachings) should thenceforth be regarded as their teacher, since it is the only truth not subject to the wheel of change. Some of the most impressive celebrations are held in Nepal , Sri Lanka, Tibet , and of course, numerous sites in India. What makes Vesak such a special celebration is that it marks not one but three events in history that were monumental in the life of the Lord Gautama Buddha. These are: the day he was born to King Suddhodana; the day he attained enlightenment and became the Buddha, or the ‘Awakened One’, and finally, the day he attained parinirvana, that is, nirvana in death (Nirvana in Buddhism), the greatest kind.

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The first and last events in fact occurred on the same day of the year, adding mystical reverence to the Buddha and this day. On Buddh Purnima, Buddhists assemble in their temples before dawn for the hoisting of the Buddhist flag and to pay homage to the holy trinity of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Offerings of flowers are accompanied by candles, and these are symbolic of the fickle nature of existence, as is witnessed in the flowers that would soon wither, and the candles that would soon burn out. The celebration also includes a symbolic act of liberation which involves the freeing of thousands of birds, animals, and other life. The celebration of this day calls for an active effort to be made on this day by all Buddhists to bring joy to the handicapped, and the sick, and the aged. The origin of this practice may be traced back to the old man, a diseased man, and a sage that Gautama Buddha encountered on his first venture outside his princely existence, which were directly responsible for his search for a path to enlightenment.

It mostly comes in April or May month as per English calendar.


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