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Buddha Purnima

May 7, 2020

Buddha Purnima is celebrated across the world by the Buddhist Community to commemorate the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha. It’s also called “Vesak” in India. 

Buddha means “enlightened person”. His original name was “Siddartha” born to Shuddodana (chieftain of Sakya clan) and Maya, in Lumbini. His mother died during his infancy and later, he was brought up by his maternal aunt, Gautami, sister of Maya, in Kapilavastu. Thus he acquired the name of “Gautama Siddartha”. Gautama Buddha was contemporary to Bimbisara and Mahavira. Siddartha was married to “Yashodhara” and had a son called “Rahula”.

Siddartha once went outside the palace and encountered the human suffering after witnessing the four people – older man, diseased man, corpse and an ascetic. He then inspired by the hermit and renounced everything and went out in quest of enlightenment. He wandered across jungles, met two teachers and learnt yogic meditation.

Once, he sat under the Pipal (Bodhi) tree during meditation in Bodh Gaya (Bihar), he got enlightenment. Thus, he earned the name “Buddha”. Later he gave the first sermon at Sarnath (Varanasi). Next, he moved on along the Gangetic plains for the rest of his life to teach the four noble truths – Dukkha (suffering), Samudaya (cause of suffering), Nirodha (eliminating the pain), and Magga (path of elimination of suffering).

He said that craving for something causes pain if it is not acquired. One should end the suffering by removing the desire by following the eight-fold path. It consists of 

  1. Right Understanding (Samma Ditthi)
  2. Right Thought (Samma Sankappa)
  3. Right Speech (Samma Vaca) 
  4. Right Action (Samma Kammanta)
  5. Right Livelihood (Samma Ajiva) 
  6. Right Effort (Samma Vayama)
  7. Right Mindfulness (Samma Sati)
  8. Right Concentration (Samma Samadhi)

Buddha and his followers continued teaching all the years and had to stop at Kushinagar, where Buddha had reached Mahaparinirvana (death).