Buddha Purnima is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha, world's most famous spiritual guru and the founder of Buddhism. This year the special occasion is being observed on Monday, May 16.
Buddha Purnima is celebrated by Buddhists and Hindus across the globe and is a major festival in Indian subcontinent, south east and east Asian countries and China, however, every country celebrates the festival differently.
Buddha Purnima is considered to be very auspicious as it is believed that on this day Gautama Buddha obtained enlightenment. Buddha Purnima is also known as Buddha Jayanti, Vesak and Vaishaka.
The date of Buddha Jayanti differs each year as it is based on the Asian lunisolar calendar. This year, Buddha Purnima will mark the 2584th birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha.
Buddha Purnima Date & Timings:
• Buddha Purnima Date: May 16
• Purnima tithi begins: 15th May 2022, 12:47 PM
• Purnima tithi ends: 16th May 2022, 9:45 AM
Gautam Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama to a royal family in 536 B.C. in Lumbini, in modern-day Nepal. When Siddhartha reached the age of 29, he renounced worldly pleasures and embraced the spiritual quest before attaining enlightenment to become the Buddha. He died at the age of 80 at Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh after decades of spreading spirituality across many countries.
As per 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 Gotama Buddha took place on this day. Firstly, 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 Kushinagar, he passed away to Nirbana, the cessation of all desire, on the same full moon day of May.”
Buddhists believe that all three major events in the life of Buddha happened on this day, these are - his birth, his attaining enlightenment, and his death, Paranirvana. So they consider it auspicious and celebrate this day with great enthusiasm and zest in different ways.
Each country has different celebrations and traditions for Buddha Purnima. Buddhist communities across the globe offer prayers, chants, meditate and discuss his teachings.
People travel to temples and monasteries and pray to Lord Buddha. The temples also house a small statue of Buddha was a baby as he was born on this day. The statue is placed in a basin filled with water, which is decorated with beautiful flowers. Some people also observe a fast on this sacred day
According to Hindu beliefs, Gautama Buddha is the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Because of this, the day is considered sacred for Hindus also.
In Hindu beliefs, there is a tradition of taking a dip in the holy Ganga river on the day of Buddha Purnima as it is believed that the sacred dip washes away sins.