Buddha Purnima - The Enlightened One


 Purnima, marks the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha was a philosopher, a great spiritual teacher, a master and a guide who founded the religion of Buddhism. As per the Vedic literature, Lord Buddha is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and he appeared on this Earth to teach the message of non-violence and mercy towards all living creatures.

Buddha Purnima is celebrated in the month of Vaishakha on the Full Moon (Purnima). Buddha Purnima is also know as Vesak or Buddha Jayanti. This sacred day  is celebrated all over the world and it is considered as auspicious for Hindu's and Buddhist's.

Birth Life of Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha - to - be was born in about the year 563 BCE  in the Kingdom of the Shakya in present day southern Nepal. 

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  was  Shakya  Clan  King  Suddhodhana and his mother was Queen Maya . Buddha had  all  Royal facilities. His father wanted him to be noble King  and take full advantage of all the material opulence and facilities available to him in the family. However his mother Queen Maya  expired when he was an infant and so Siddhartha was bought up by step mother Mahapajapati Gotami. The place of birth of Lord  Buddha as per the Buddhists is in Lumbini, which is in present time Nepal. The name Siddhartha in Pali means ' He who achieve his aim/goal'.

Buddhists texts written have narrated that Lord Buddha was born a Prince of the Suryavanshi of Ikshvaku as his father Suddhodhana had inherited the throne and was a King

An 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. It is believed that Lord Buddha was born on a Full Moon day and so it is celebrated as Buddha Purnima.

In the naming ceremony of Lord Buddha, which took place on the fifth day after his birth, King Suddhodhana had invited Brahmin scholars who has predicted, after seeing the new born, that he would either grow up to be a great King also called Chakravarti or a renowned  and  great religious leader. Soon Buddha's father made a lot of attempt to keep him away from the religious path, as he wanted his son to be his successor.

Path to Enlightenment

As Siddhartha Gautama, Lord Buddha is said to have had keen interest in the spirituality. His father King Suddhodhana used to protect Siddhartha from being exposed to experiencing human sufferings and from spiritual teachings, as it was predicted that Gautama may become a religious leader. However Lord Buddha set out to see the subjects in his father's Kingdom and faced the naked truth's. 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. He realised that human beings are subject to birth, death, ageing, ill-health, suffering 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. He decided to leave his life of luxury and set out in search of truth and peace. He thus left the city of Kapilavastu and became wandering ascetic.

For nearly six years, in the course of his search for the truth, he practiced various forms of severe austerities and extreme self mortification, until he became weak and realised that such mortifications could not lead him to what he sought. He changed his way of life and followed his own path, the middle way. He sat cross-legged under the foot of the Peepal Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa)
and determined not to rise without attaining enlightenment.

Siddhartha continued to search for the solution to the true meaning of life. After six years of hardship, working to find the right spiritual path and practicing on his own to seek Enlightenment, the prince reached his goal. After forty-nine days, at the age of 35 he attained enlightenment and became a Supreme Buddha on the Full Moon day of the month of Vaisakh at Bodh Gaya.

Soon after his Enlightenment he gave his first discourse "Dhammacakkappavattana"
Sutta or Turning the wheel of Dhamma to five ascetics in the deer park at Isipatana  in Benaras. After hearing his teachings the five ascetics became his first disciples. His teaching attracted many followers and they joined the Sangha, the community of monk's. He then visited his father, who was ill to preach the Dhamma. After hearing the Buddha's teachings the King attained Arhat (spiritual enlightenment) before he passed away. The Buddha then preached the Abhidhamma the higher Doctrine to his former mother, who was reborn as a Deva  with other Deities in the Tavatimsa heaven. He also founded the order of Buddhist nuns. During his spiritual leadership of 45 year's Lord Buddha walked throughout the Northern districts of India, and taught about the suffering of life, how to end it, and how to attain peace and Nibbana ( Nirvana) to those who would listen.

The Ultimate Truth Mahaparinibbana (Death) 

As Lord Buddha continues his spiritual journey, the time of Gautama Buddha's birth and death is uncertain. 

However most Historians date his lifetime between 563-483 B C.

As per Legend, at the age of 80, Lord Buddha  set out on his last journey with Ananda, his cousin and beloved disciple and a group of  bhikkhu's from Rajagaha to Kusinara (Kushinagar).

Lord Buddha arrived at Vesali (Vaishali) and stayed there during the rainy retreat (vassa).

After leaving Vesali (Vaishali) on the way to Kusinara (Kushinagar), he arrived at Pava , where he had an assault of infectious disease. Lord Buddha then arrived at Kusinara (Kushinagar) and lay down on a couch between two Sal tree's in the grove of the Malla King's.

Though he was very weak, he addressed Ananda and the Bhikkhu's, and preached the Mahasudasana Sutta and made one last convert. Then Lord Buddha attained Parinibbana and entered into the final Nibbana (Nirvana) on the Full Moon day of the month of Vaisakha.

Some of the Noble Teaching of Lord Buddha

The Noble Eightfold Path is one of the principal teachings of  Buddhism, taught to lead to Arhatship.

The Eightfold Path consists of Eight practices

1. Right Speech

2. Right View

3. Right Livelihood

4. Right Mindfulness

5. Right Resolve

6. Right Conduct

7. Right Effort

8. Right Samadhi


Buddha Purnima Signifies the most important events of Lord Buddha.

It is believed three important Events of Lord Buddha's life took place his Birth, his attaining Enlightenment, and his Death Parinirvana. This day is known as Thrice Blessed Festival.

As we all Celebrate Lord Buddha's 2584 rd Birth Anniversary on 16 th May.

I Wish you all Happy Buddha Purnima!

                                                        By Viinod Baherani


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