Vesak or Buddha Purnima marks the day when Gautam Buddha was born as a Prince. Since it falls on the full moon day, Vesak is referred to as Buddha Purnima in India. This auspicious day is also celebrated in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Nepal, Korea, Indonesia, Laos, and Malaysia with great enthusiasm for the salvation Lord Buddha gained under the Mahabodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, Bihar.
How is Buddha Purnima Celebrated?
On the day of Buddha Purnima, devotees gather and remember Buddha's teachings that espoused non-violence and compassion. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, devotees visit the temples of Buddha to listen to the spiritual talks given by monks. They remember the teaching by Lord Buddha through the ancient verses from the Holy Scriptures that are recited in the temples. Baby Buddha idols are placed inside basins filled with water and decorated with fresh flowers inside the temples. Followers of Buddhism wear white clothes and meditate. They consume only vegetarian food. People often celebrate it by preparing ‘Kheer’- an Indian sweet dish, at their homes. Offerings are made to the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, and alms are also distributed to the needy and poor.
Followers pour water on the statues to signify a pure and a new beginning in their lives. Devotees travel to the holy city of Bodh Gaya from all over the world, from countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Singapore, Myanmar, Bhutan, etc.
Significance & Importance of Celebrating Buddha Purnima
The Buddhist calendar observes the Buddha Purnima as the 'Thrice Blessed Day,' marking the significant events in the life of Lord Buddha - his birth, enlightenment, and death, all known to have happened on the same day. Siddhartha Gautama went on to seek the true meaning of life and renounced his luxurious princely life and status. After years of meditation and seeking the truth, he became enlightened and achieved nirvana under the Bodhi tree on a full moon day. He spent the rest of his life imparting knowledge to his disciples through his spiritual experiences. Thus, based on his teachings, the religion Buddhism was established. He later became known as 'The Buddha,' a title bestowed to him which means 'the awakened one' or 'the enlightened one.' Also known as Shakyamuni Buddha, the great monk is believed to have left his physical body on a full moon day.
Thus, although all full moon days are considered auspicious by the Buddhists, Vesak is regarded as the most significant day celebrated to commemorate the important stages in the life of Lord Buddha.
Buddha Purnima is the greatest celebration for the Buddhist people living all around the globe, and they commend each moment of it with truthfulness and honesty. It is trusted that knowing Gautam Buddha, and finding out about his life and lessons, helps achieve mindfulness, the real essence of human existence.
Lord Buddha is the profound educator for accomplishing mental harmony and complete ecstasy. He showed the world that longing and connections are the real reasons behind a wide range of discomfort. On this auspicious Buddha Day, one should follow the “Eightfold path” to receive his blessings and to have peace of mind, calmness and tranquility.