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Buddha Purnima 2020: Date, Time and Significance of Bhuddha Jayanti Puja

Buddha Purnima 2020

Budddha Purnima (May 7, 2020 Saturday) is the day when Gautama Buddha was born (his 2582nd Birth Anniversary). It is also known as Vesak or Vesakha or Buddha Day a holiday followed conventionally by the Buddhists around the world.

Particular Date & Day Time starts Time ends
Buddha Purnima Tithi May 6, Wed 7:44 PM  
Buddha Purnima Tithi May 7, Thu   4:14 PM

Buddha Purnima is the celebration of Lord Buddha's birth anniversary and is celebrated worldwide, in the month of Vaishakha on Full Moon. Lord Buddha was a philosopher, great spiritual teacher, a master and a guide who founded the religion of Buddhism, which has followers all over the world that is increasing in numbers with passage of time. Born as Siddhartha Gautama, He is said to have lived approximately between 563-483 B.C., as per historians, though there is no concrete birth or death time found. Lord Buddha is said to be the ninth avatar Lord Vishnu, though South India does not take that into consideration.

Siddhartha Gautama meditated for years in search of the truth and attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya and His first discourse on Dharma/Dhamma was in Sarnath. Both these places are regarded as pilgrim places by Buddhists. The day of Buddha Purnima is also the day Buddha attained Enlightenment. Buddha Purnima is also known as Vesak, Vaishakha and Buddha Jayanti. For Buddhists Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Lumbini which is Lord Buddha's birth place, Kushinagar are pilgrim places. Lord Buddha is mostly depicted in His meditative, calm, serene form, a form which makes any observer calm down and become peaceful.

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Meaning of ‘Buddha’ and Other Names of Buddha:

Buddha Purnima 2020Buddha means the enlightened/wise one. Lord Buddha has been referred to by few other names by His devotees. Gautam Buddha has called himself Tathagata in the initial texts of Pali Canon. Tathagata might have meant His transcendental spiritual mode. The term Tathagata by itself often means "one who has come" or "one who has gone". Sakyamuni was a name often used for Lord Buddha, in the Mahayana literature, which means 'Sage of the Sakyas'. Sakya stands for the clan He was born in.
Some of the names of Lord Buddha which are mentioned in the canonical texts, as per His attribute are:
Lokavidu: It means one who knows many worlds. This effectively means He is knowledgeable about the various Universe and its stages.
Sugato: Well spoken or well gone
Sammasambuddho: The one who is perfectly self-awakened.
Bhagavathi: The Blessed One
Anuttaro Purisa-damma-sarathi: Proficient trainer of untrained people
Satthadeva-Manussanam: Teacher of the human beings and Gods
Araham: The one who is worthy or respect/homage/adulation. The word Arahant stands for someone who is free of all taints, has lived a holy life, dropped the burdens of life, found the absolute goal and has risen above with the final knowledge to liberate himself from the chains of being.
Vijja-carana-sampano: The one endowed with ideal conduct and higher knowledge

Birth of Buddha and Family Life:

Buddha Purnima 2020 Gautama Buddha was named Siddhartha Gautama by his parents. Siddhartha a Sanskrit word is made of siddha meaning ‘to achieve’ and artha meaning ‘goal’. It means the one who has achieved (siddha) the ultimate goal (artha). His father’ name was Suddhodana; suddho means ‘pure’ and dana or dhana means ‘grain of rice’ the one who grows pure rice or has opulence (dhana sampati). In the Vedas, rice is considered to be one of the sacred offerings honored as much as Anna Deva (the god who nourishes or feeds all the beings). The one who has rice (symbolically food in his plate) is said to be rich but the one who grows the rice grains is the richest. Born to Suddhodana (the Shakya Clan chief) and Maya (the Koliyan Princess), Buddha had all royal facilities. His father wanted him to be a noble king and take full advantage of all the material opulence and facilities available to him in the family.

Buddha Purnima 2020 It is believed that Siddhartha Gautama was born to a leader of the Sakya tribe called Suddhodana. His mother Maya expired when He was an infant and so Siddhartha was brought up by step mother, Mahapajapati Gotami. The place of birth of Lord Buddha's place of birth, as per the Buddhists, is in Lumbini, which is in present time Nepal. The name Siddhartha in Pali means 'He who achieves His aim/goal'.

Buddhist texts written later have narrated that Lord Buddha was born a Prince of the Suryavansha of Ikṣvāku, as His father Suddhodana had inherited the throne and was a King.

Buddha Purnima 2020An interesting story of Lord Buddha's mother, Queen Maya, is described in texts, which says that the day Buddha was conceived, she had dreamt of a white Elephant with six white tusks had entered her right side and post ten months Siddhartha was born.

Buddha Purnima 2020It is believed that Lord Buddha was born on a full Moon day and so it is celebrated as Buddha Purnima in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. In Theravada countries it is celebrated by the name of Veska. In the naming ceremony of Lord Buddha, which took place on the fifth day after His birth, Suddhodana had invited Brahmin scholars who had predicted, after seeing the new born, that He would either grow up to be a great King, also called Chakravartin, or a renowned and great religious leader.

Buddha Purnima 2020Soon Buddha’s father made a lot of attempts to keep him away from the four: the sick, the aged, the poor and the dead; the four bitter truths of life namely diseases, aging, poverty and death. However Buddha set out to see the subjects in his father’s kingdom and faced the naked truths. When he saw all of the aforementioned people, his charioteer Channa explained to him that this was the way of life. Going ahead on the chariot, Buddha encountered an ailing man, a dead body and an ascetic who all left a deep impact on him and depressed him as well. Feeling guilt-tripped within, Siddhartha silently left his royal palace for a mendicant’s life. He traveled extensively in search of the Absolute Truth or self-realization.

Based on early Buddhist texts, Siddhartha Gautama/Gotama had a wife, Yasodhara and a son Rahul. He is said to have been skilled in martial arts.

Renouncing Family Life For Awakening:

Buddha Purnima 2020 As Siddhartha Gautama, Lord Buddha is said to have had keen interest in the spiritual meanings of various things and is said to have encouraged the people of His kingdom to walk on the spiritual path.

Legend has it that Suddhodana used to protect Siddhartha from being exposed to experiencing human suffering and from spiritual teachings, as it was predicted that Gautama may become a religious leader. However, it is believed that in visits to the capital, Kapilavastu, Siddhartha saw old age, diseased and sick people, and a dead body, which is said to have stirred and upset Him deeply. He realized that human beings are subject to birth, death, ageing, ill-health, suffering (dukkha) which continues lifetime after lifetime, and there is no escape from it. With this awareness Siddhartha wished to liberate human beings from this vicious cycle.

Buddha Purnima 2020

In one of the early texts Lord Buddha has revealed that He has led a very spoilt life in the protection of His parents.

One night Siddhartha Gautama decided to leave the luxuries of His abode and set out to the forest to remain in solitude, in quest of attaining enlightenment as He had realized that being enlightened is the only way He could help others get freedom from this cycle. So Siddhartha Gautama renounced the life of riches and went on the journey of a spiritual seeker and after years of deep meditation in solitude, He attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya.

Teachings of Buddha:

Buddha Purnima 2020 Lord Buddha's teachings are famous and popular worldwide.

There are many teachings which Lord Buddha taught and practices which were given as part of the teachings, as is mentioned in old Buddhist texts, in doctrines like, the Middle Way or Middle Path which Lord Buddha described as a term which is the basic essence of the Noble Eight Fold Path to attain liberation etc. The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta which means "The discourse on the turning of the Dharma wheel" describes the basic principle of the teaching of Lord Buddha is the Four Noble Truths which teaches

  • Dukkha (suffering) is a part of each birth
  • It comes from attachment or craving/desire
  • If one is able to give up attachment and the other causes
  • That person will be able to attain liberation or Nirvana

Buddha's teachings was also about Karma and rebirth, that the cycle of death and being reborn again(i.e. samsara) is a continuous process which manifests because one's Karma which leads to Dukkha or suffering and that it should be the spiritual goal of all humans to attain liberation from this cycle. Buddha's concept of Karma is not about action it is about the intension and He is supposed to have clearly said so, which means that all thoughts, words, deeds effect positively or negatively the intension which as per Lord Buddha effects the next life positively or negatively.

Lord Buddha's teachings are also based on the formula of Dependant Origination which in Pali is described as: evam sati idam hoti meaning, that there is a every phenomenon is caused due to another phenomenon present, e.g. if there is desire it will give suffering or dukkha.

Lord Buddha was against religious rituals/practices laid down by Brahmins to attain 'moksha' who Lord Buddha criticized because the Brahmins thought themselves to be of high birth or cast, whereas Buddha believed that no human being can be born high caste as it is the moral and the action that one can be Brahmin. The attitude of the Brahmins was not accepted to Lord Buddha as among other things they also kept their mantras secret and Buddha believed that if by sharing something it can help human kind it should be shared. Where the Brahmins gave importance to caste system and made rules about what one has the right to do or not do as per caste Lord Buddha embraced all casts and religions. The teachings of Lord Buddha are vast and should be explored in detail. The great spiritual teacher's popularity in the present world is a proof of that.

How to Celebrate Vesak Festival (Lord Buddha Purnima):

When the world delves into an endless ocean of ignorance, hatred and unrestricted sense-gratification, an Enlightened One descends to reclaim the fallen souls. Buddha in a spiritual perspective reclaimed the fallen souls through his teachings. He found that extreme asceticism and unrestricted sensual enjoyment did no good to one’s inner self. He found a middle way called Majjhimaapaṭipadaa neither extreme/sudden renunciation of the worldly objects nor unrestricted sensual pleasure.

One can celebrate Buddha Purnima in the simplest way. The aim of celebration is to remember Buddha and his invaluable teachings.

Visit to a Vihara: One can visit a Vihara if located in their city. A ‘Vihara’ a Sanskrit and Pali word for a monastery used by Buddhists. There you can sit peacefully and offer flowers to the Buddha statue. You can also light up a Diya (oil/ghee/butter lamp) and place it along the others.

Simple dressing: One can dress up simply in white or saffron attire if possible. You can also use a shawl while praying.

Cooking Kheer: Buddha Purnima 2020 One can cook kheer (rice pudding). It is important to cook it considering its historical significance. During his ascetic journey, Buddha experienced physical weaknesses due to consuming only a leaf or a nut per day in order to sustain his quench for Enlightenment, devoid of absolute pleasures. When a village girl named Sujata saw a weakened Buddha collapsing in a river while taking bath, she offered him kheer that helped him regain some energy. Rice pudding is made of rice grains, milk, sugar and water. These ingredients are regarded by the Vedas as satvik. They nourish your inner self as well as energize the finer tissues of the brain, making the mind calm and focused on the spiritual practice. On this day, non-vegetarian food is not consumed.

Meditation: Buddha Purnima 2020 This is central to Buddhism as Buddha stressed on dhyana, meditation. One can simply read the teachings of Buddha and then sit in mediation calmly. This will gradually shut the chattering in your fickle mind. One can mediate in a Vihara, a place that is super-charged with the mantras chanted by the monks there. However it not compulsory to do meditation there, you can sit anywhere provided there are no distractions.

  • If you are unable to meditate due to the unstoppable chattering of your mind, better you play the divine chants of Buddha and focus on the sound.
  • It comes from attachment or craving/desire
  • You can read more about Buddha and listen to his teachings.
  • You can install a Buddha Idol at you place or hang his photo frame. The idol or photo is conducive to meditation.

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