Buddha Purnima 2024: Quotes, best places to observe celebrations in India, and more

Temples and homes are decorated with colourful lanterns and lights to create a festive atmosphere. Illuminated displays depicting Buddha's life scenes are set up in public places.

Livemint
Updated23 May 2024
A worker cleans a Buddha statue at the Maha Vihara Mojopahit temple in Mojokerto on May 15, 2024 ahead of the Vesak festival which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. (Photo by JUNI KRISWANTO / AFP)
A worker cleans a Buddha statue at the Maha Vihara Mojopahit temple in Mojokerto on May 15, 2024 ahead of the Vesak festival which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. (Photo by JUNI KRISWANTO / AFP)(AFP)

Buddha Purnima, or Buddha Jayanti or Vesak, is an annual celebration observed on the first full moon of the Hindu calendar month Vaishakha.

This significant day commemorates the birth of Lord Gautam Buddha, who was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautam in Lumbini, present-day Nepal, around 563 BC. Buddhists worldwide celebrate Buddha Purnima with great fervour. This year, Buddha Purnima will be observed on 23rd May (Thursday).

Here are some of the best places to observe Buddha Purnima:

Sarnath

Near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Sarnath is where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon after enlightenment. It holds immense significance for Buddhists and attracts pilgrims worldwide, especially on Buddha Purnima.

Bodhgaya

Bodhgaya in Bihar is where Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, becoming the Buddha. It is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage sites and hosts elaborate celebrations during Buddha Purnima.

Arunachal Pradesh

This northeastern state of India is home to several Buddhist monasteries and stupas. Places like Tawang and Bomdila are renowned for their serene Buddhist ambience, making them ideal for observing Buddha Purnima.

Ladakh

The high-altitude region of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir is dotted with monasteries and Buddhist cultural heritage sites. The colourful festivities and religious rituals during Buddha Purnima make Ladakh a memorable destination for visitors.

Sikkim

Sikkim, nestled in the Himalayas, boasts a rich Buddhist heritage. The state is adorned with monasteries, including the famous Rumtek Monastery and Pemayangtse Monastery. Prayers, processions, and cultural performances mark Buddha Purnima celebrations in Sikkim.

How to celebrate Buddha Purnima

Temple Visits

Buddhists visit temples and monasteries to pay homage to the Buddha by offering flowers, candles, and incense at shrine rooms and stupas.

Bathing of the Buddha

A symbolic ritual involves pouring water over the shoulders of Buddha statues, representing purification and renewal. Chanting and offerings of scented water often accompany this act.

Giving Alms

Buddhists participate in acts of charity and giving to the less fortunate, including donating food, clothing, and other necessities to monks, temples, and the needy. This practice is known as Dana and reflects the virtue of generosity.

Lantern Processions

In some countries, especially in East Asia, lantern processions are held in the evening. Participants carry brightly lit lanterns while chanting Buddhist sutras. These processions symbolize the light of wisdom dispelling the darkness of ignorance.

A vendor arranges paper lanterns at his roadside shop ahead of 'Vesak' festival also known as Buddha Jayanti to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha, in Colombo on May 20, 2024. (Photo by Ishara S.Kodikara / AFP)

Decoration and Illumination

Temples and homes are adorned with colorful decorations, lanterns, and lights to create a festive atmosphere. Illuminated displays depicting scenes from the Buddha's life are often set up in public places.

Quotes by Buddha

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

"The mind is everything. What you think you become."

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

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

"In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."

"Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life."

"Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship."

"Happiness never decreases by being shared."

"The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows."

"Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule."

These quotes encapsulate Buddha's teachings on mindfulness, compassion, wisdom, and the pursuit of inner peace.

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