Today- Wednesday–is the 2565th Buddha’s birthday which is generally known as Buddha Jayanti, is being celebrated all over the country. It is a special day for both Hindus and Buddhists around the world.
According to the history, as per widely held beliefs, Maya Devi, the Queen of Shakya King Suddhodhan of Kapilvastu, (now in West Nepal gave birth to the Prince Siddhartha while passing through the Lumbini Garden, (also in west Nepal) on the day of “Vaishakha Poornima” (full-moon day of) in 623 BC. The newly-born Prince is believed to have taken seven steps and uttered a timeless message to all humanity.
Buddha Purnima, also known as Buddha Jayanti, is an auspicious day that marks the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Importantly, on this day too he was Enlightened and also the day he left the world-death (Mahaparinirvana). Every important event of his days had fallen on the same day of the year–Baisakh Purnima- the full moon day of Nepali calendar’s first month.
The son of a Shakya kingdom’s king Shuddhodhan, Prince Siddhartha was the crown prince. Although his father wanted his son to rule the kingdom, Siddhartha wasn’t interested in politics.
But instead, he was more interested in why the people had to face various problems in life. When he met different people and learnt about their sufferings, he wanted to know what has caused such suffering to mankind.
So, at the age of 29, he left the palace and the family along with his wife and small baby-son in search for the answer to the question-why mankind has to suffer? He meditated for many years in thick forest and suffered a lot before being enlightened. After enlightenment he became Lord Buddha and propagated Buddhism spreading his knowledge. At last, Buddha died in Kushinagar of India at the age of 81.
Buddha Jayanti is celebrated every year on the full moon day of Baisakh Shukla Poornima- the full moon day of the month of May. Since Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and Mahaparinirvana, i.e. death, falls on the same day — Baisakh Shukla Purnima, Buddhists around the world celebrate Buddha Jayanti with emotional reverence and devotion to the Buddha.
Followers of Buddhism don’t acknowledge Buddha as a supreme god or deity. The religion’s founder, Buddha, is considered an extraordinary man, but not a god. The word Buddha means “enlightened.” The path to enlightenment is attained by utilizing morality, meditation and wisdom.
Buddha Jayanti is celebrated in most of East Asia and South Asian nations.
On this day, in Kathmandu Valley, Buddhists of all persuasions as well as pilgrims from abroad, honour the Buddha at the two great stupas Swayambhunath and Boudhanath and in Patan. Activities at the main Buddhist stupas and shrines begin at dawn and continue till late in the evening. Outside the valley, Lumbini – the birthplace, Tilaurakot or Kapilvastu-where Buddha spent his first 29 years, Devdaha – his maternal home, and other sacred places and monasteries and other parts of Nepal are crowded with devotees on the day of Buddha Jayanti.
However, due to the ongoing prohibitory orders due to the corona pandemic Buddhists are being confined to chaityas, monasteries and other places and will only perform rituals including worship.
Last year also, the day was marked in a small way as the country was under a lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lumbini, Swayambhu and Boudhanath are also deserted. Small numbers of followers celebrated Buddha Jayanti with social distance by lighting a lamp at the monasteries and other areas.
On this great day, President Bidya Devi Bhandari has wished happiness, peace and prosperity to all Nepali brothers and sisters who are followers of Buddhism, peace and non-violence at home and abroad.
In her message, she said that it is a matter of pride for all of us that Nepal is the birthplace of the Lord Gautama Buddha—to whom the entire world highly respects as the beacon of peace.
President Bhandari stressed on the need to take Buddha Jayanti as an opportunity to pledge to move forward on the path of progress inspired by our nation’s ancient civilization and rich history.
Stating that it is a matter of pride for all of us that Nepal is the birthplace of the great Lord Buddha, whom the world highly respects as the beacon of peace, she stressed on the need to take Buddha Jayanti as an opportunity to take inspiration from the ancient civilization and rich history of our nation.
The President also expressed the belief that the spirit of mutual harmony, tolerance and brotherhood among the religious, social and cultural diversity would be enhanced and national unity would be strengthened as well as help for world peace if the inspiring teachings and guidance of the Lord Buddha were assimilated.
Expressing hope that the entire world will get rid of the epidemic of Covid-19 as soon as possible, the President also wished that on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti would motivate all to further strengthen the national unity of Nepal.
Also, Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has expressed his best wishes to all on the occasion of the 2565th Buddha Jayanti. The Buddha’s thoughts and teachings are relevant to sustain the peace that has been disturbed by the human race.
Lumbini was the source of Buddhism as the Buddha was born in Lumbini. He also urged to correct the real fact that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini of Nepal.
Stating that the disturbed human race can be transformed into peace through the consciousness of Buddha’s thoughts, ideals and teachings that are very relevant and important in the modern hypertension days.
Meanwhile, President of India Ram Nath Kovinda also write in Twitter that Buddha Purnima greeting to everyone. The teaching of Lord Buddha shows us the path of liberation from the suffering. Let us follow the path of wisdom, compassion & service shown by the Buddha and get rid of COVID-19 through our collective resolve & concerned efforts.
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has also wished his warmest greetings to Buddhists all over the world on #Vesak Day saying “when we honour the birth, enlightenment & passing of Lord Buddha, all of us, Buddhists & non-Buddhists alike, can find inspiration in the Buddha’s message of honesty, compassion & respect for all living things.”
Also, the US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has said in his message that “Today we join Buddhists at home and around the world in their celebration of Vesak, a day honoring the legacy, tradition, and teachings of the Lord Buddha.”
“On this occasion, we celebrate the invaluable contributions of Buddhist communities the world over. We join these communities in recommitting ourselves to upholding the universal principles of compassion, peace, and respect for human dignity,” he added.
“May this day inspire us all to reflect on our shared values and to collectively work to build a better world for Buddhists and people of all belief traditions.”
Happy Buddha Purnima, the Secretary Blinken concluded.
Buddha is also named as the Light of Asia and the Pioneer of World Peace. Besides, Nepal, as Buddha Jayanti is celebrated with a biggest festival in Buddhist countries- Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South Korea, Japan any other countries this day is also a public holiday.