New Delhi: The much-revered Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima festival, marking the birthday of Lord Buddha is being celebrated this year on May 26 respectively. Traditionally, it’s a holiday in Mahayana Buddhism commemorating the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, later the Gautama Buddha—founder of Buddhism.
The birthday of Lord Buddha is widely celebrated across the globe and followers begin preparation, days in advance.
Before denouncing worldly pleasures, the Lord was known as Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later transformed into Gautama Buddha and founded Buddhism as a path leading to the spiritual enlightenment of the soul.
From Prince Gautama to a Spiritual Seeker:
It is said that as per Theravada Tripitaka scriptures, Prince Gautama was born in Lumbini which is now known as modern-day Nepal, around 563 BCE. He was later raised in Kapilavastu.
The legend has it that when Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in a royal lineage, an astrologer named Asita predicted that either he will set to become a great king else he would denounce everything, leaving the comforts of all things material.
Naturally, the prince’s father King Suddhodana wanted his son to reign as the powerful and greatest of kings, therefore he did not let him go out of the palace walls. However, as destiny would have it—the prince at the young age of 29, went out of the palatial comforts and saw how people suffer, and how difficult it is for an ordinary man to survive.
According to Buddhist literature, it is believed that what the prince witnessed during this time is known as the four sights. He got to understand the suffering of a common man, saw an old man, a sick person, a dead body and finally an ascetic holy man, who was content in life.
It is believed that these experiences were vital enough and compelled the prince to leave his comfortable royal life behind and move ahead to embrace divinity by walking on the spiritual path, leading to the enlightenment of the soul.
Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Buddha Purnima!