It’s Buddha Purnima today! As I was going through articles on the celebration of this day, I thought of writing new facts that I came to know today about Siddhartha Gautama’s (Buddha’s birth name) life and on Buddha Purnima.
On the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Mayadevi (Buddha’s Mother) dreamt that a white elephant with six white tusks entered her right side, and ten months later Siddhartha was born. She gave birth in a garden beneath a Sal tree.
* Soon after his birth, his horscope was made. Eight Brahmin scholars predicted that he would become either a world monarch or a great ascetic. Since Suddodhan (Budhha’s father) did not want his son to become a hermit, he raised him in great luxury. Shielding him from the harsh realities of life, the King created a paradise on earth for his beloved son.
* Buddha is believed by Buddhists to have “the 32 Signs of the Great Man”.
* The story of he witnessing of four passing sights that brought in to light the ascetic in him is all popular. So nothing about it here.
* He was just 29 when he longed for finding out some answers to the questions of life.
* After the passing away of the Buddha, the Buddhist order came to be divided. As many as 18 schools of thoughts developed, each interpreting the words of the Buddha in their own way.
Buddha Purnima, commemorating the birth, Enlightenment and death of Buddha, is observed as a public holiday in many Southeast Asian countries. In Japan and other Mahayana countries, however, the three events of Buddha are observed on separate days. In some countries the birth date is April 8, the Enlightenment date is December 8, and the death date is February 15.
* According to Buddhist legend, his wife Yashodhara, his first disciple Ananda, his charioteer Channa, and the horse Kantaka on which he renounced his kingdom to ‘find some answers to life’, were all born on this sacred day. Even, the tree, called Bodhi tree, under which he attained nirvana was also believed to have been created on this day. And it was on this day Buddha chose to preach his first sermon at Varanasi, or, Benaras, in India.
* Apart from recitation of Buddhist scriptures, meditation and worship of the statue, an interesting ritual performed on this day is freeing of birds from cages.
Wishing peace upon all of you reading this on this special occasion!
Sit for a while in meditation as the Moon ascends in your part of the world!
Happy Buddha Purnima!