Spiritual Elegance of Buddha Purnima
Buddha Purnima is celebrated in commemoration of the birth, spiritual enlightenment and the attainment of Mahasamadhi by Lord Gautama Buddha. It falls on the full moon day in the month of Vaishak, which is normally in April or May as per English Calendar. Buddhists from India, Nepal, SriLanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Tibet, Bhutan and almost all the South East countries celebrate this great day with religious serenity, spiritual splendor and peaceful gaiety. They chant, meditate, and attend spiritual discourses in the glory of Lord Buddha to reiterate the spiritual elegance Buddha has lent to this world.
Buddha’s Message to the world
Gautama Buddha’s life is a known story to one and all. The’ Light of Asia’, as rightly called by Matthew Arnold, is a spiritual icon who has ennobled the world with his tall preachings that go beyond the boundaries of common human sentiments. Though simple in words, his teachings are impeccable for their spiritual flair and their immaculate heights of selflessness. The Buddha has advised people to give up desire, which is the root cause of sorrow and misery. Born with a silver spoon as a prince, he relinquished his kingdom one fine night to seek solutions for the miseries of the world and got enlightened in Bodi Gaya. He got parinirvana (mahasamadhi) in the end. It is a wonder that the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha fell on the fullmoondays of Vaishak that the devotees deem Buddha Purnima as a very sacred occasion to celebrate.
How do they celebrate Buddha Purnima?
Not only the oriental communities but countries like, Cambodia and Indonesia also make it a grand occasion to celebrate. Generally, all the Buddhists would assemble in the Buddhist temples to hoist the Buddhist flag and sing the hymns in praise of The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha (the common precepts of Buddhism). The devotees offer flowers, incense sticks and candles as humble offerings to their teacher. These offerings reminds the people of the withering nature of the world: flowers, incense stick and candles are short lived like life on earth. They take only vegetarian food for the day and refrain from killing of any kind as well. No liquor shops and slaughter houses would be open for two days and even the caged birds and animals are released to symbolize the cult of liberation-this in turn refers to the symbolic liberation of the soul from the worldly bondage. Ardent devotees would spend almost the whole day in the temple, remembering the Buddhist precepts. Their white dress symbolizes the peace of mind and serenity of the occasion.
The Message brought by Buddha Purnima
The way the devotees of Lord Buddha observe Buddha Purnima teaches an essential lesson to the world. They listen to the lectures of the Monks on the day to understand the value of harmony and peace on earth. The monks invoke prayers for the benefit of the people and the government. They pray for peace and happiness in the world. Listening to the holy words of the monks, the devout Buddhists realize the value of bringing happiness to others and they offer charities to the destitute, the downtrodden and the poor, as ascribed in the preachings of Buddha. It is not flippant gaiety and exuberant eating that is recommended for the day. Peaceful observances like painting the temple with the scenes from the life of the Buddha and offerings to the people who come for a Darshan to the temple are rendered with piety by the devotees. Hence the proven message of kindness, help, affection and liberation is the code word we find in the celebrations of Buddha Purnima.
Vesaka or Buddha Jayanthi as commonly called, is a marvelous celebration of the message of love, kindness, harmony, charity and liberation it carries with it.