Buddha Purnima Celebrated Across the World with Devotion and Joy
Kathmandu — May 5th marks the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and his enlightenment day, also known as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti. The day is considered to be one of the most auspicious days for Buddhists worldwide.
Born in Kapilvadtu, Nepal as Prince Siddhartha Gautama around 563 BC, Buddha is revered as a philosopher, spiritual guide, religious leader, and meditator who got liberated from the cycle of birth and rebirth. According to Hindu traditions, Buddha is the ninth Vishnu avatar (reincarnation).
The day is celebrated across the world with a lot of excitement as members of the Buddhist community offer their prayers to Lord Buddha by visiting his holy shrines. Many devotees also visit temples and donate alms to the needy. Some observe a fast and later offer sweets to Lord Buddha. The day is completed with devotees lighting incense before him and praying for peace.
In Nepal, where Buddha Purnima is a gazetted holiday, people who have embraced Buddhism prefer to wear white clothes and avoid consuming non-vegetarian food. Instead, they have ‘kheer’ as it is believed that a woman offered a bowl of milk to Gautam Buddha. Usually, the day sees colourful processions by Buddhists from the surrounding communities to the pagodas. People pour water at the foot of the Bodhi Tree, give alms, and meditate.
The Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, is also visited by many devotees on this occasion. It is believed that this is the location where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Buddha Purnima celebration is all about praying with the purest of feelings, and adopting what Buddhism stands for – peace, non-violence and harmony. The day is not just important for Buddhists but also for people of different religions who respect and appreciate the teachings of Lord Buddha.