Buddha Jayanti (Buddha Purnima, or Vesak) is the main festival of Buddhists around the world. This lunar day falls on the first full moon day (Purnima) of the Hindu month of Vaishakha. On this lunar day, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born. It is said that his enlightenment day and death also fall on the same lunar day.
In 2023, Buddha Purnima (Buddha Jayanti, or Vesak) falls on Friday, 5th May (22 Baishakh 2080 BS).
Story of Siddhartha Gautama
Siddhartha Gautama was born in current-day Nepal (Lumbini forest, Rupandehi district, Lumbini Province) in 563 BCE. The day was Vaishakha Purnima. In the Indian subcontinent, people popularly believe that he walked 7 steps right after his birth. However, as an unfortunate prince, his mother passed away a few days after his birth.
While growing up as an adolescent, he used to question all odds that humankind faces- sorrow, difficulties, aging, death, and disease, among many others. The royal court was arranged in such a manner that he would be shielded from witnessing these aspects of life. One day, the prince left his royal luxury and went away from his family and the palace. This day is also popularly believed to be Vaishakha Purnima.
In search of the truth, he reached Gaya, in present-day India. Under a peepal tree (Ficus religiosa), he underwent a deep meditation in bajrashana (a meditation position). He was contemplating various aspects. Ultimately, he got enlightened. Incidentally, this day is also Vaishakha Purnima.
After the Enlightenment, people started calling him- Buddha (an enlightened one). Disciples and followers developed Buddha's teaching and principles and integrated them into the world religion- Buddhism. While celebrating Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, we must not forget to acknowledge the existence of multiple Buddhas.
Buddhism spread, over time, to present-day India, China, Burma, Thailand, Bhutan, Tibet, Sikkim, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and even beyond. The globalized world has Buddhist followers even in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and the Western hemisphere.
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha left the material body when he was 80 years of age. At the time of his passing away, he was in Kushinagar, present-day India. Coincidentally, the day was Vaishakha Purnima. Hence, people started celebrating Buddha Jayanti (Buddha Purnima) on the lunar day of Vaishakha Purnima.
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha's Family Members
PanchaSheel (5 Principles) in Buddhism
PanchaSheel had been part of the religious principles in the Indian subcontinent even before Buddhism came into existence. However, the principle got its renewed gravity with Buddhism. The 5 life principles that a person needs to follow in lofe are:
- No killing
- No theft
- No sexual offences/misconduct
- No falsehood
- No intoxication
|PanchaSheel Script: Photo clicked at Lumbini, Nepal|
Hate is never ended by hate. If it is possible, then hate is ended by love. And this is the universal principle.
Peace is found within yourself. You do not need to search elsewhere.
3 things can not hide for long- Sun, Moon and Truth.
यदि तिमी आफैँलाई सच्चा माया गर्छौ भने अर्काको मन दुखाउने छैनौ।
Should you truly love yourself, you never hurt others.
Buddha Jayanti in Nepal
In Nepal, Buddha Jayanti is marked at various stupas and monasteries. A special program is organized at Lumbini, the birthplace of lord Buddha.
Buddha Purnima has the significance of a healthy being of oneself along with other living beings in this universe. People abide by the principles of peace and mutual coexistence. In recent years, Buddhism has become a principle of living from the East to the West. Celebrating Buddha Purnima (Buddha Jayanti, or Vesak) adds to our commitment to universal peace and prosperity.