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Buddha Purnima Essay: Budhha Purnima is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha. He is also known as Buddha or “the awakened one”. Buddha was the progenitor of Buddhism and one of the most prominent spiritual leaders in history. Buddha Purnima is celebrated in the Hindu month of Vaishakha on a full moon day. It holds paramount importance in the lives of Buddhists. Otherwise called  Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Pournami, or Vesak, it has many versions that are celebrated in different South and Southeast Asian countries including Tibet and Mongolia.

Mahabodhi Temple, the place marking the location where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment gets decorated every year on account of Buddha Purnima. Devout Buddhists gather around to say their prayers and preach the teaching of Buddha under the revered Bodhi tree.

gautam buddha

Buddha Purnima Essay – The Life of Buddha

Birth and Early Life of Buddha

Born in Lumbini (present-day Nepal) to the king of the Shakya clan, Shuddhodana, he was named Siddhartha at his birth. Legends suggest that he started talking and walking immediately after being born. Astonished, the king called for the court astrologers to foresee the boy’s fate. He was ascertained to become either a universal ruler (chakravartin) or a buddha. Fearing that he might turn out to be a mere monk, his father, the king shielded him from the sorrows of life. Being kept from the ills of life the prince lived a luxurious life full of riches. He got married at the age of 16 to Yashodhara, a beautiful princess.

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Life changed for the prince one day when he decided to take a trip outside his palace. Although the king had ordered that all the old and disease-ridden be removed from the route, one old man escaped caution. He saw the old man but didn’t know what stood before him. Confused, he was told by his charioteer that this was an old man and that all people would grow old one day even himself. Three more such trips brought unanticipated realizations to the prince wherein he came to know about sickness, death, and asceticism. Resolved to search for a state beyond all that he saw, he asked for his father’s permission to retire to the forest. The king tried his best to hold the prince back but couldn’t. He adopted the life of an ascetic and started practicing meditation. He met Bimbisara, the king of Magadha and eventual patron of the Buddha while wandering, and was offered a share in the kingdom. He declined and said that he would return for his share after achieving enlightenment. Over six years, the prince mastered meditation and was able to achieve deep concentration levels. He came on par with his teachers and concluded they won’t help him meet his goal. 

The Enlightenment of Buddha

The prince then met a group of five ascetics, who devoted themselves to severe self-mortification. He adopted their practices but soon realized that this wasn’t the path he was searching for. His companions abandoned him, believing in themselves. Hell-bent on seeking the state beyond birth and death, he vowed to sit under a tree until he found his purpose. Numerous efforts by Mara were made, the deity of Desire, to break his meditation but the prince was unwavering. At last, he attained enlightenment and came to know about the four truths of life: suffering, its origin, the ceasing of suffering, and the path to it. 

Buddha after Enlightenment

Unsure about his next steps, he set out to spread his learnings. In his first sermon, he established the Eightfold noble paths. The five ascetics who once abandoned Buddha were compelled by his charm and chose to join him.  By this, he consequently set the wheel of Dharma in motion and the five ascetics established a monastic order that came to be known as the Sangha. Soon the teachings of Buddha spread and he gained omniscience. At the age of 80, he passed into the nirvana.

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Buddha Purnima EssayThe Eightfold Noble Paths of Buddhism

The Buddha established the Eightfold path often induced as the “Eightfold Noble Path.” They are,

  1. Correct view, 
  2. Correct intention, 
  3. Correct speech, 
  4. Correct action, 
  5. Correct livelihood, 
  6. Correct effort, 
  7. Correct mindfulness, and 
  8. Correct concentration.

Significance of Buddha Purnima

Buddha Purnima is a very significant festival for the followers of Buddhism. It marks a prosperous event – the birth of Gautama Buddha. It is a public holiday in many countries including India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, etc. On this auspicious day, the Buddhist monasteries are decorated with colorful embellishments and candles. Followers of Buddhism wear white clothes and resort to non-vegetarianism for the month. Monks deliver speeches about the Buddha and living the ideal life. 

The festivities also include sermons given by Buddhist ascetics about the teachings of Buddha such as the path of Dharma and Panchshila (The Five Precepts). Hymns are sung in the praise of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha (his disciples) – the three holy gems of Buddhism. 

Bringing happiness to others is the main objective of celebrating Buddha Purnima. Arrangements are made for the less fortunate and differently-abled people. Gifts are distributed by the monks and charitable homes are served by volunteers from monasteries. Every event is celebrated with a serene fervor, capturing the very essence of Buddhism.

Buddha Purnima in Different Countries

The spread of Buddhism is credited to emperor Ashoka, who sent Buddhist monks to neighboring countries along with a message of peace and love. This helped Buddhism reach far-East countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, etc. Every country has its own set of beliefs and practices when it comes to celebrating Buddha Purnima. Vesak is the commonly used name for Buddha Purnima in such countries. 

Nepal– Buddha Jayanti is widely celebrated across the nation. Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, and Swayambhu are the major centers of attraction. Thousand of pilgrims from all around the world come together to celebrate this pious occasion at Lumbini.

Indonesia– Buddha Purnima is known as ‘Waisak day’ in Indonesia. It has the world’s largest Buddhist temple where thousands of monks gather to repeat mantras and meditate. They orbit the temple in a ritual called “Pradaksina”. They also celebrate by bottling holy water and transporting flames from one location to the other.

Malaysia– The ‘Wesak’ celebration in Malaysia is characterized by devotees gathering at Buddhist temples nationwide to meditate on the Eight Precepts at dawn. People engage in prayers and set free caged animals all across the nation.

Vietnam– Buddha’s birthday is celebrated in Vietnam by decorating the Pagodas around the country. Lantern parades are one of the festive events that take place in Vietnam

Japan– Vesak goes by the name of Hanamatsuri (the flower festival) in Japan. It is believed in Japan that nine dragons appeared in the sky on the Buddha’s birthday and poured amṛuta over him. Amacha, a sweet tea made from Hydrangea macrophylla is poured on his figure as a ritual. A major tradition practiced during the festivities is Lion dancing.

Why do we celebrate Buddha Purnima?

As we know, Buddha Purnima is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Guatama Buddha. It is met with much zeal by the disciples of Buddhism and people of other religions both in India and elsewhere. But why do we celebrate it?

In some parts of the world, Buddh Purnima is considered the day of birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha. These are the three key events in the life of Buddha. To honor the sacrifices and hardships endured by Buddha in his path to attain enlightenment, Buddha Purnima is celebrated. 

Buddha Purnima Essay – Important Date 2022

This year, the propitious occasion of Buddha Purnima will be celebrated on the 16th of May 2022. The Purnima Tithi for Buddha Jayanti will begin at 12:45 PM on 15th May 2022, with cessation at 9:43 AM on 16th May 2022.

FAQs on Buddha Purnima Essay

What is Buddha Purnima and why it is celebrated?

Buddha Purnima marks the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha and is celebrated to pay homage to Lord Buddha and spread his teachings among subjects of every religion.

What is special about Buddha Purnima?

Buddha Purnima is a significant festival for the followers of Buddhism. It is celebrated in the Hindu month of Vaishakha on a full moon day and commemorates the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha.

Is Buddha Purnima a bank holiday?

Yes, the banks remain closed in Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, and Andaman&Nicobar on Buddha Purnima.

Is Buddha Purnima a government holiday?

Yes, Buddha Purnima is a Gazetted holiday in India. All Central Government and several State Government institutions remain closed on Buddha Purnima.

Is Buddha Purnima a national holiday?

Yes, Buddha Purnima is a national holiday in India.

What time is Buddha Purnima?

This year, the propitious occasion of Buddha Purnima will be celebrated on the 16th of May 2022. The Purnima Tithi for Buddha Jayanti will begin at 12:45 PM on 15th May 2022, with cessation at 9:43 AM on 16th May 2022.

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