The journey of Enlightenment: Buddha Purnima or Vesak

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The message of Universal peace and enlightenment reminds us of the reverend Buddha, and the journey from birth of prince Siddhartha to enlightenment and becoming Buddha and finally entering into the Nirvana phase. To celebrate the divine occasion of all these auspicious events, the Buddhist festival known as Buddha Purnima or Vesak/Wesak is widely rejoiced on the full moon day of the lunar month, Vaisakha. This year this festival is falling on 4th May, 2015.

Significance of this day:

The day in history which was pre decided by the Universe, is of utmost significance as it holds the three fold journey i.e. birth, enlightenment and death (entering into Nirvana) of Buddha. Not only this, it is also believed that his wife Yashodhara, his first disciple Ananda, his charioteer Channa, and the horse Kantaka on which he renounced his, were all born on this sacred day. Even, the Bodhi tree, under which he attained nirvana, was also believed to have been created on this day. The first sermon at Varanasi by Buddha was also held on this same day.

This festival is a reminder of his noteworthy journey, as he left an epitome for the entire humanity by living as a perfect saint. His eight fold path of right belief, right intention, right living, right conduct, right word, right thinking, right efforts and right meditation; comprehends the perfect balance between materialistic and spiritual life. So the Dharma chakra (8 spokes and path to enlightenment) at Buddhist monasteries symbolises the journey of an individual, and these sacred teachings of Buddha are an inspiration to lead our lives on his directed path.

Rituals on this day:

Special celebrations are organized at Bodh Gaya in Nepal, Kushinagar, Sarnath and other parts around India and the world. Prayers, sermons, recitation of Buddhist scriptures and meditation are performed by the Buddhists devotees, on this day to express their deep love and faith towards Lord Buddha. Numerous birds, insects and other animals are released on this day to celebrate the ‘Act of liberation’, by providing freedom to the tortured and innocent souls. The festival is celebrated with peace and devotion to express the honour towards the Five Principles of Lord Buddha, known as ‘Panchsheel’.

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja

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