Buddhists monks celebrate Buddha Purnima, carry holy water on Vesak Day
Buddhists thronged shrines to celebrate Buddha Purnima, hailing the enlightenment and teachings of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
Buddha's birthday, or Vesak Day (or Wesak), is celebrated on various dates in spring throughout the world, and each Buddhist culture has its own traditions for the day. It is usually observed during the first full moon in May. This year it is celebrated on May 14 across India.
Buddhists celebrate the Buddha's three most important life stages on Vesak: Birth, Enlightenment and Death, which traditionally are said to have happened on the same day.
Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal, while his mother stood holding onto a tree. Once born, it was said he took seven steps forward after which a lotus flower arose from each footstep. After which, it was said that it was his last rebirth and that he would become an enlightened one.
Propagating the message of peace and harmony, Buddhist monks and children took to streets with extravagant processions. The Buddhists shrines were abuzz with the religious hymns being sung by the devotees and the incense wafting far which created an aura of solidarity and solemnity.
Walking in a procession across Gaya in Bihar, a wave of jubilation swept across the worshippers as they danced and sang hymns praising Lord Buddha.
"Today, the Buddhists have come for prayers and attend a procession while chanting for Lord Buddha," said a monk from Thai monastery, Thamahali.
The devotees also offered prayers and performed customary rituals at the sacrosanct Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha was enlightened.
Sarnath, the place where he attained enlightenment, in Uttar Pradesh also exhibited the same show of divinity as people celebrated Lord Buddha's birthday, with equal fervour. The day is also commemorated as his death anniversary.
"Today, Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment and he was also born on this day. He also died on the same day. We give best wishes to the people of the country," said a Buddhist monk.
The ideals of non-violence, peace, compassion and service to humanity embodied in Buddha's teachings have profoundly impacted human history and the course of civilization.
According to the Hindu belief, Buddha is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and is revered across India.
(Posted on 15-05-2014)