Buddha Purnima 2024: Learn About Birth Anniversary of Gautama Buddha

Buddha Purnima celebrates the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama who was later on known as Buddha- the founder of Buddhism. Lord Gautam Buddha was born on the day of Vaishakha Purnima, who attained enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana before he came to be known as a spiritual teacher. At present, over 140 crore people around the world practice Buddhism and celebrate this day with zeal.

Hindus consider Buddha as the ninth incarnation form of Lord Vishnu. So, they also join in the celebration of this auspicious day. Mainly, this birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha is celebrated in India and across Asia. In Bodhgaya, Bihar, there is a holy pilgrimage site, Mahabodhi Temple. The temple where young Gautam Buddha wandered in the forest for at least seven years, searching for the facts. Here, he went into deep meditation, and on the day of Vaishakh Purnima, he attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya under the Bodhivriksha.

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Buddha Purnima 2024 Date And Time

Buddh PurnimaDate And Time
Buddha PurnimaThursday, May 23, 2024
Purnima Tithi Begins06:47 PM on May 22, 2024
Purnima Tithi Ends07:22 PM on May 23, 2024

Buddha Purnima History

Vesak is the famous Mahayana Buddhist festival over the centuries. According to the Theravada Tripitaka scriptures, Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal, in 563 BC. In 1950, Buddha Purnima was famously known as Vesak. Afterwards, in 1999 Vesak celebrations were designated as Buddha Purnima. This day commemorates Gautam Buddha’s birth anniversary, and thus, Buddhists consider Vesak a momentous day. It is one of the most commonly observed festivals in the Buddhist religion.

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Buddha Purnima Significance

During the celebration of Buddha Purnima, people organise a fair near Mahaparinirvana Vihar in Kushinagar, the Mahaparinirvana of Buddha. The Mahaparinirvana of Buddha is the source of this Vihara’s significance. The well-known Ajanta caves influenced the architecture of this temple. There is also a 6.1-meter-tall statue of Lord Buddha lying down the graces of this Vihara, and it is made up of red loamy soil.

Later, when the idol of Buddha was removed, Vihara was built in the same place. It is believed that Lord Buddha was cremated under the stupa located in the East of Vihara.

Moreover, Buddha Jayanti is an auspicious festival for people belonging to Buddhism. People also light up the candles and decorate their homes with flowers. Many devotees from around the world travel to Bodh Gaya to offer sincere prayers, and they read Buddhist scriptures.

There is also a Bodhi tree (Bodhivriksha) that held great significance today. The ancient tree is surrounded by lamps, where people offer milk and water to its roots. On this full moon day, people release the birds from a cages and donate food or clothes to the poor.

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Buddha Purnima Celebrations

Buddha Purnima celebrations draw pilgrims from all over the world to Bodh Gaya. They gather under one roof to offer prayer to Gautam Buddha and then recite Buddhist scriptures. Devotees engage in group meditation and remember Lord Buddha. On this day, the Mahabodhi temple attracts many devotees to participate in the celebrations.

Buddha Purnima falls on the full-moon day of Vaisakha month, which arrives in May. There is a belief that Lord Buddha meditated under the Bodhi tree and achieved Supreme Enlightenment. Then, he died at the age of 80 in Parinirvana on the same day at Kushinagar. Hence, devotees also visit Bodhgaya, Lumbini, and Kusinara to celebrate his birth anniversary.

Vesak or Buddha Jayanti is not only celebrated by young and adults but also by aged or disabled people. Buddhists people will invest their time in making donations or doing any charity works on this day. Vesak is a time of great joy and happiness, expressed not by satisfying one’s appetites but by focusing on valuable things such as decorating and lighting temples. Buddhists provide vegetarian food or light refreshments to visitors.

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Celebrations In Bodh Gaya, Bihar

The three most important events in Gautama Buddha’s life happened on the same day. On Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti, people organise special prayers to seek world peace in Bodh Gaya. Sages or saints gather at Mahabodhi temple to worship Gautama Buddha. On this special day, the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya is decorated along with the Bodhi tree.

People also visit the museum to remember the generous deeds of Lord Buddha. They prepare a sweet dish, ‘Kheer’ and distribute it among the other devotees as well. Furthermore, devotees also pay visits to Buddhist shrines, read Buddhist scriptures, and participate in religious debates and group meditations.

Buddha Purnima Rituals

Lord Buddha’s life was all about spiritual learning, teachings, and knowing moral values.

  • On this occasion, people recall Lord Buddha and seek his divine blessings.
  • People worship Buddha’s idol by offering a fresh bunch of flowers and lighting up diyas.
  • As a part of rituals, devotees refrain from eating any non-vegetarian food items. Instead, they prepare sweet dishes of Kheer and serve it, among others.
  • At present, Gautama Buddha is known as the founder of Buddhism, and therefore, Buddhists, along with Hindus, worship Lord Buddha with extreme devotions.

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Importance of Dharma wheel

While celebrating Buddha Purnima, we usually see a dharma wheel symbol. This wheel is commonly known as Dharmachakra among the people of Buddhism. This wheel is in gold colour and has eight spokes. These eight symbols state spiritual teachings from Lord Buddha. The central part of the wheel symbolises discipline and moral values. Many Buddhists consider Dharmachakra as the way to achieve enlightenment and Nirvana.

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Wrapping Up

We learned how Buddha Purnima is celebrated with immense pleasure and devotion. People from all over the world gather at the famous Mahabodhi temple to worship Lord Buddha. Now we know the importance of this day that it not only marks the anniversary of Gautam Buddha but also reminds us of the spiritual learnings from Lord Buddha.

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