Buddha Purnima is an annual festival that falls on the day of the Full Moon in the month of April or May. Buddha Purnima honours the birth, enlightenment, and death of Siddhartha Gautama, or Lord Buddha. It is one of the largest Buddhist holidays. The day is observed as the birth anniversary and date of enlightenment of Gautam Buddha. The celebration is observed by Buddhists and Hindus across the country and in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It is celebrated with great fervor in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and numerous other South East Asian countries including Thailand, Tibet, China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, and Indonesia.
According to the British Library blog, “Every full moon day is an auspicious day for Buddhists, but the most important of all is the day of the full moon in May, because three major events in the life of the Gautama Buddha took place on this day. First, the Buddha-to-be, Prince Siddhattha was born at Lumbini Grove on the full moon day in May. Secondly, after six years of hardship, he attained enlightenment under the shade of the Bodhi tree and became Gautama Buddha at Bodh Gaya also on the full moon day of May. Thirdly, after 45 years of teaching the Truth, when he was eighty, at Kusinara, he passed away to Nibbana, the cessation of all desire, on the full moon day of May.”
Although less than ten percent of the population identifies as Buddhist, Buddha Purnima is a vibrant holiday that attracts people from across the globe. The date of this holiday is not fixed to the Gregorian calendar like many Western holidays; it is observed on the full moon of the month of Vaishakha on the Hindu calendar. Buddha Purnima is a holiday that is oriented around humility and respect.
Buddha Purnima was celebrated for hundreds of years after the death of Siddhartha Gautama. Despite this, the festival did not become an official Buddhist holiday until the middle of the 20th century. In 1950, the World Fellowship of Buddhists gathered in Sri Lanka to discuss the future of Buddhism. At this gathering, they decided to make Buddha Purnima an official holiday that would honour the birth, life, and death of Lord Buddha.
Many Buddhists celebrate Buddha Purnima through various acts:
One of the most common ways to celebrate Buddha Purnima is to gather at a place of worship before the sun rises. This ceremony is observed with various prayers and dances. In some areas, marches and physical exercises are performed. This is a way of showing gratitude for health and the simple things in life. Some people also participate in hymns.
Devotees of Buddha visit temples, light candles and incense sticks, pray and offer sweets and fruits before the statue of Lord Buddha. Sermons on the life and teachings of Buddha are held and attended by followers all over. People usually dress in white, do not consume non-vegetarian food and distribute kheer, as according to Buddhist lore, on this day a woman named Sujata had offered Buddha a bowl of milk porridge.
Many followers also free caged birds on this day as a symbol of empathy and compassion for all living beings, one of the most important teachings of Lord.
As Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the Light of Asia, the triple anniversary of the Buddha’s birthday is celebrated. On this day people swarm in Swayambhunath, Kike Swayambhunath, and Boudhanath to pay homage to Lord Buddha and also visit Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini and chant prayers and burn butter lamps. Lord Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautam but he abandoned his luxurious life when he realized the misery of mankind and went in search of enlightenment.
Happy Buddha Purnima: Wishes
- What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create. Happy Buddha Purnima!
- Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living. Happy Buddha Purnima!
- If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another. Happy Buddha Purnima!
- Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well. Happy Buddha Purnima!
Happy Buddha Purnima: Quotes
- “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
- “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”
- “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”
- “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”
- “Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.”
Happy Buddha Purnima: Greetings
- Wish you always be showered with abundant fortune and prosperity and find the path to eternal happiness. Happy Buddha Purnima.
- Let us pray for peace and harmony for all humankind on this auspicious day. Happy Buddha Purnima.
- This Buddha Purnima, may you get enlightened by the divine rays and grace of the Almighty.
- On Buddha Purnima, here’s wishing you peace, love, happiness, good health, and prosperity.
- We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. Happy Buddha Purnima.
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