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Buddha's Birthday Celebration | Significance of Buddha Purnima

Updated on October 8, 2014

Today is Buddha's Birthday

Today is Buddha Purnima/Jayanti/Vesak (Buddha's Birthday). This is the most significant Buddhist celebration happens every May on the night of the full moon. This day is not only important for Buddha's birthday but also for his enlightenment and death of the Buddha. It is a sort miracle that these three major events of his life had happened on the full moon day in May. It is a joyful occasion that the Buddhist community likes to celebrate it with people all over the world.

My Christian friends like joining in the festival at our Buddhist temple. Typically I invite my friends to come over and be part of the main festival event. I let them know the significance of the day from our Buddhist monks. We offer foods, flowers to the Buddha and monks. Then we prepare to listen to monks' Dharma talks. In fact, it is a biggest Buddhist festival we celebrate to bring peaceful atmosphere. Hopefully this page will help you to know more about Buddha's Birthday and it's significance.

Photo credit: Maarten Heerlien

"Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without"

— Buddha

Significance of Buddha BirthdayJayanti/Purnima/Vesak

The Buddha was a great teacher, he who brought a new religion that teaches us to be peaceful from all aspect of our life. In his teaching there is no killing involvement, no fraudulent activity, no bad words that could hurt someone else mind and so on.

The significance of Buddha Purnima teaches us we should follow his teachings analyzing them with our own mind. It includes the Four Noble Truths, The Noble Eightfold Path, The Five Precepts (five principles known as 'Panchsheel'). All these factors rely on peace, love, wisdom and kindness. If a person could live a life considering some moral ethics then surly he/she never makes any mess for our society. As a result we get a peaceful life and this is what we all need.

Our life is uncertain, time is limited! No one knows we could die even in a second. By thinking this logic we better do some good jobs that could bring happiness to our society and for our future generation. Buddhism itself is all about living in a peaceful atmosphere. We could achieve if we follow Buddha's teachings.

On this day, he was born, he attained enlightenment, he passed away as well! All of our lives will go through this process. I mean if I am breathing now I will have to die later, it could be after months or years. There is no escape from the word "DIE". Even though Buddha was a holy man he could not stop dying. He died just like others.

However, Buddha Purnima, Jayanti or Vesak is an important day for every Buddhist and it brings a message that we should not be harmful to any living creature.

Image credit: wonderlane

Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment

Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment (Enlightenment Series)
Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment (Enlightenment Series)

Want to know more about Buddhism? Read this one and I can assure you that you will know more!

 

Different Names of Buddha's Birthday around the World

As Buddha's birthday is celebrated to many Asian countries including other parts of the world so it has different names. Typically in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh knows it as Buddha Jayanti/Vaisakh Purnima/Vesak/Buddha Purnima. While it has got a different name in Japan that is called Hana Matsuri.

1) Buddha Purnima

2) Vesak

3) Visakah Puja

4) Vaisakh Purnima

5) Buddha Jayanti

6) Buddho Joyonti

7) Hana matsuri (Japan)

8) Wesak Day

9) Hari Wesak (Malaysia)

10) Saga Dawa (Tibet)

11) Seokka Tanshin-il (Korea)

12 Wisakha Bucha (Thailand)

The Time Buddha was Born

I will not describe all the birth story of the Buddha here but I want to focus on certain points. Here I just want to mention about Buddha's family:

Name of his father: Suddhodana (The King)

Name of his mother: Maha Maya (The Queen)

and Buddha's family name was: Siddhartha Gotama

Well, the Buddha appeared in this world on the full moon day of May, in the year 623 B.C. His birthplace is located in Lumbini garden, Nepal. At the time when the Queen due date was approaching she (Maha Maya) wanted to travel to her childhood home (Devadaha) from the king's capital city of Kapilavatthu. Her journey to Devadaha had started on a palanquin carried by a thousand courtiers.

While passing the Lumbini grove, princess saw the grove is full of flower blossoming trees. So she ordered her courtiers to stop for a while. Then she came out from the palanquin and entered the grove. Siddhartha Gotama was born under the shade of a flowering Sal tree. The infant stood and then took seven steps then he pointed to the heavens with his right hand and to the earth with his left, and proclaimed loudly, "In the Heavens above and on the Earth below, I alone am the World-Honored One."

The queen Maha Maya died seven days after his birth. It was a great lost for the king, though Siddhartha Gotama was raised by the care of Maha Pajapati Gotami (Younger sister of Maha Maya).

Image credit: christianhaugen

What is Dharma?

You should know what Dharma is on Buddha's Birthday

Dharma in Pali is called Dhamma. If we think of this word universally the word means a kind of law given by the God. It is said that in the ancient time the god promised to appear from time to time to protect this dharma by taking different incarnations. The Buddha never thought there was a god existence and he could have given any religious laws. Actually, Buddha used this word to mean his entire teachings toward us. Dharma means that which holds up, up holds and supports. Our body itself is Dharma, our mind itself is dharma and the whole universe is dharma.

Usually when people talk about the word "Religion" they think of its faith at first. The Buddha was not interested with this word. A person who grows up with a certain religious faith would never believe what other religion's beliefs. The Buddha himself said not to belief his own teachings but he said to analyze it and know it everything before you accept it. You know knowledge is other thing while understanding is another concept. We have seen so many people who know many things but they can't be realistic if they are egoism, selfishness and anger.

Since we do suffer in our life the Buddha taught the dharma to escape from sufferings. It is introduced by the Buddha holds, supports us, and frees us from misery. We are not going to face any unfortunate circumstances if we follow its methods. What are the unfortunate circumstances? These are being born as blind, crippled, deaf, dumb or even mad. Can you think the nature of our existence? The Buddha taught us to think it by ourselves.

Beautiful Buddha Statue

Photo credit: neonow

Buddha Birthday Gift Idea: 8" Thai Buddha Meditating Peace Harmony Statue

Anyone can buy this beautiful unique little Buddha statue as a present for someone on Buddha's Birthday. Have you got any Buddhist friends? If so then don't hesitate to get this one! You have a great chance to surprise him/her.

Deco 79 Thai Buddha Meditating Peace Harmony Statue, 8"H
Deco 79 Thai Buddha Meditating Peace Harmony Statue, 8"H

This is a beautiful Thai style Buddha statue. You will love the size of this statue and perfect for showing it in your living room where usually guests come and sit.

 

The Time Buddha Attained Enlightenment

After realizing that life is full of suffering Siddhartha Gotama (The prince) decided to leave the Palace, his wife and son. His intention to leave the palace life was to escape from suffering. So one night he asked Channa to prepare his horse, Kanthaka. While on the other hand he went into the room to see his wife and son for the last time.

At the age of 29, he began his life as a monk and went to Rajagaha. The he decided to meet with well known hermits and sages to know how to get rid of sufferings. There was a well known hermit called Alara Kalama. Once Siddhartha went to meet him and stayed with him for learning how to be calm in mind as well as how to get rid of sufferings. In fact he attained the first thing but he had failed to achieve the second one, so he left the sage to find another teacher respectively.

He went to some sages thereafter but he was not satisfied at all! So he decided to be an ascetic to become enlightened. He chose a place at Uruvela near a river and a village. He also found five ascetic there who were practicing asceticism there they were Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji.

Doing this hard practice Siddhartha became very thin but still he did not find the peace he was looking for. He sometimes ate a very little, sometimes he even did not eat nothing but he continued his meditation. Though later Siddhartha began eating normally and soon his health recovered so he realized that practicing asceticism would not bring enlightenment! Seeing him other five ascetics left him thinking that Siddhartha was greedy for having food. One morning, a girl named Sujata offered him some delicious porridge made from milk and rice and wished good luck to him.

Facing east he started his ultimate meditation under a bodhi tree. Then he made a promise that he will not give it up until he finds the way to get rid of sufferings for him and for all people. While meditating he had so many straggles but he remained calm and still was meditating. He was able to remember his previous life during the meditation and then he saw how beings are reborn according to the law of cause and effect, or karma. He also discovered that good deeds lead the way from sufferings to peace while bad deeds lead one to be more greedy be a sufferer. Finally he became completely free from thinking in a way that caused him any suffering. At the age of 35 on the Full moon day in May, he achieved Nirvana, the freedom from all sufferings. Now he is an enlightened one who would not be reborn again, he stopped this circle as he stopped all the sufferings.

Photo credit: artisrams

Do you Celebrate Buddha's Birthday?

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The Buddhist Concept of the Worship

Every day we worship the Buddha offering foods, drinks and lilting up candles. So yes, we of course worship Buddha on his birthday. This ritual sounds weird to someone who is not Buddhist. They say why to worship Buddha image or statue! This practice is bad practice to them. But they fail to realize the significance of praying respect of a master who showed us how to lead a noble religious life. Actually, this is the way we Buddhists appreciate the enlightenment.

The Buddha did not tell us to worship his image but as a disciple we have the right to respect him seeing him in a picture. Do Buddhists violets moral principles, peace and happiness of others by paying respect to a Master who is symbolized by an image? As a mark of respect we erect his image. His image symbolizes the perfections of the Buddha, wisdom, purity, kindness, compassion that are highly regarded by all cultured people.

Many people who are not Buddhists like to have Buddha images or statues because they appreciate how an image of the Buddha can create a deep sense of calmness in the mind. To lead a Buddhist life peacefully, one does not need to have a Buddha image, this is not compulsory at all!

Image credit: Flickr

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. What we think we become"

— Buddha

Countries That Celebrate Buddha Birthday/Purnima/Vesak/Jayanti

Traditionally most of the Asian countries celebrate it based on the geographical area with different names for it. The countries that celebrate this day are listed below:

1) India

2) Japan

3) China

4) Korea (North and South Korea)

5) Nepal

6) Bangladesh

7) Thailand

8) Myanmar

9) Taiwan

10) Vietnam

11) Singapore

12) Cambodia

13) Sri Lanka

14) Bhutan

15) Tibet

16) Malaysia

17) Philippine

18) Laos

19) Hong Kong

20) Macau

I also heard that Buddha Birthday is celebrated other nations such as in Australia, United States, and Russia.

Image credit: Dennis Jarvis

Buddha Lounge 6

Buddha Lounge 6
Buddha Lounge 6

There are total 12 songs performed by various artists. You will be loving listening to all these songs from this album. Good luck!

 

How My Family Celebrates Buddha's Birthday

Early Morning Season:

We start our day walking up in the very early morning around 3:30AM. Then we have got a job to be done that is collecting flowers. We all take our baths before worshiping the Buddha statue at home with colorful flowers, candles, foods and water. Before that my mother actually cooks everything we need, she even walks up before 3:30AM.

My family go there in temple about 6:00AM, we do offer foods and drinks to the monks and the Buddha statues as breakfast meal. Then we in front of the Buddha statue start praying for all the creatures such as human, animal, angels and demons for their own happiness.

Late Morning Season:

This season start it from 9:00AM. Our temple committee organizes a big religious ceremony where many people gather in one place. We raise our Buddhist flag and start the even with a religious song. Monks gather and start the event on its own traditional way. We take the Five Precepts of Buddhism in front of the monks and then they start telling us about the Buddha's birthday. The event usually ends up around 11:00AM then we prepare to offer lunch to all the monks.

In the Evening Season:

After doing all these we get back to home and my mother cooks different types of foods for us including cake. We invite our relatives and friends to come and share their joys with us. In the evening people like to release sky lanterns for the Buddha's Birthday. It is a charming atmosphere for all of us. Thus how we do celebrate our Buddha's Birthday with all.

Image credit: seafaringwoman

He who sees the Dhamma/Dharma sees me, he who sees me sees Dhamma

— The Buddha

Offering these Flowers to the Buddha

Namo Amitabha

I have taken this photograph today at noon and now I am offering these flowers to the Buddha!

Offering flower reminds us one thing that all the things we see in the world are impermanent, this is actually what Buddha teaching says.

It is obvious that the beauty of a flower soon become discolored and scentless! It is truly match with our life, one day we all have to be old and then die!

Best Buddhism Books

The Time Buddha Died

It is a saddest part you will be reading. I myself feeling very sad right now but I must write you so that you know it.

Well, the Buddha spread his Dharma to many places to many of his disciples. His teachings showed people how to be free from all sufferings. He taught us how to be peaceful and be calm in mind, how to not to be anger even though someone acts want to make you anger.

Kusinara, the place where the Buddha exhaled his last breath at the age of 80 laying under the two big Sal trees on a full-moon day in the month of May in 543 B.C. Kusinara was a holiday resort of the royal clan of the Mallas. The Buddha was old enough, he knew even he is the Buddha someday he must die, there is no escape from it!

He asked Ananda (Buddha's main attendant) to prepare a place for him to lie down and when it was prepared he lay down on his right side. Though he did not fall asleep, instead he began his meditation. Though Buddha had asked the monks they were with him and said "If any amongst you has any doubts as to the Buddha, the teaching, or the order of monks, ask me now so that afterwards you may have no cause to regret that you did not ask me while I was still with you."

However, all of them were very silent!

After a while the Buddha addressed to all the monks saying this "Behold, Oh monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation." Then he entered into a deep meditation until his mind was purely balanced and steadily focused then he exhaled his last breath and attained Parinirvana. He is a free man who would never come back to this world and feel any suffering! Everyone was crying hearing the death of the Buddha including the other monks, men, women, children and even the angels!

Photo credit: fischerfotos

Wall Hanging Buddha Head Statue Art Decor

Wall Hanging Buddha Head Statue Art Decor Brass Metal Buddhist Gifts 11 inches
Wall Hanging Buddha Head Statue Art Decor Brass Metal Buddhist Gifts 11 inches

This is an expensive Buddha head statue.

Size: 11 x 8 inches

Weight: 3.36 kg

 

Buddha Quotes on Buddha's Birthday

Here there are 20 greatest Buddha quotes you will love to read and thing of them.

1) "Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things."

2) "It is you who must make the effort. Master only point the way."

3) "Live joyfully without desire."

4) "Speak well of others, not of their faults."

5) "Even death is not feared by one who has lived wisely."

6) "This itself is the whole journey, opening your heart to that which is lovely."

7) "If desired are not uprooted, sorrows grow again in you."

8) "The greatest prayer is patience."

9) "When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky."

10) "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."

11) "Work out your own salvation, do not depend on others."

12) "Desire never crosses the path of virtuous and wakeful man."

13) "Those who are free of resentful thoughts surly find peace."

14) "Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds."

15) "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth."

16) "Happiness or sorrow - whenever befalls you, walk on untouched unattached."

17) "Hatred dose not cease by hatred, but only by love, this is the eternal rule."

18) "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

19) "You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself."

20) "In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west, people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them."

"You yourself as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection"

— Buddha

Right Thought, Right Speech and Right Action for our Social Life

You are supposed to know these factors since today is Buddha Purnima

These three factors (part of Noble Eightfold Path) could change our social life happier better than ever we had before in our life. You don't have to be a Buddhist to realize these factors instead you have to analyze them so that you could truly understand how they could change our life.

They have direct influence on society, whether you believe it or not! They are also part of our morality. Social ethics in Buddhism is practicable only in relation to society. No doubt these ethical practices bind individual and society together. In the context of our society, ethical and moral behaviors prescribed in these three factors become meaningful.

In order to have a sensual enjoyment one has to realize the fact of 'Right thought.' Why do you need to think of this factor? The answer is quite clear to all of us that without thinking positive right things one can't build up his morality. You have to develop your right thoughts so that you can show your kindness to others. In fact right thought is a factor to be developed and put into practice in relation to society for the good and happiness of oneself and society. If you think of kidnapping someone then you are no longer with a right thought, you are now part of bad thought and ultimately your mind is spoiled and you don't know how to show kindness for the people you live in a society.

Let's talk about Right Speech now. Do you practice it for your society? If you don't then start practicing it and you will see your mind remains very calm and cool! Being a trustworthy won't spend any money from you, it is free totally. Give up your false words and stop saying it for our society. It will indeed bring welfare for us. Don't deceive people and selfish, better be kind and show others the right path. By practicing this factor one can give up back-biting forever! Don't be enemies of other telling lie to others, you are not supposed to make mess, and you better find happiness in unity. Be polite, give up harsh speech, be gentle and no one can defeat you.

The practitioner of Right action becomes morally good and has the ability to bring peace in his/her society. In fact right speech follows right action that deals with good things and never let an individual do killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. These three things would happen once if you have ignorance in your mind. If you are pure in mind then you would lead a pure life.

Thanks for reading this article. Be peaceful and don't depend on other when you have an ability to do a thing. May you be happy until your last breath. Happy Buddha Birthday/Purnima Everyone.

Image credit: Akuppa John Wigham

Some other Buddha gift ideas

Paradise Buddha Figurines, 2-Inches, Set of 6, Bronze
Paradise Buddha Figurines, 2-Inches, Set of 6, Bronze

This is a set of 6 Buddha figurines, all are Bronze colored.

 

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    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      Such an inspirational way of life!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 3 years ago

      I am Buddhist also. Nice summary here. Well done. Tashi Delek!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 3 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I learned a lot about Buddha, Dharma and the customs you practice, thank you for sharing. I do not trust my own heart or mind to always tell me the truth or to be rational, nor to know all the facts. Therefore, I depend entirely on the perfect life and self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ to be the truth, to show me how to walk in it, and to be the source of my salvation. I was reading the Buddha quotes, and many of them would be close to Christian Scripture, especially Number 11 and Number 17.

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      Very thorough and enjoyable read. I knew some things about Buddha but learned more.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 3 years ago from Alabama USA

      I enjoyed reading about and learning more about Buddha.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      This was so interesting. Thanks!

    • ToxicFreeClub profile image

      ToxicFreeClub 3 years ago

      Very informative. Love all the pictures

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      He was so inspirational. I'm familiar with him through meditation.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      Great lens. I learned a lot about something I never knew before. Great idea including the names for Buddha's birthday in your lens. I like that you shared your family's celebration traditions.