Buddha Purnima: Significance of Gautama Buddha’s birth anniversary

Buddha Purnima

MNA Feature Desk: Also known as Vesak or Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.

For over two thousand years, Buddhists around the world have celebrated the Buddha’s Birthday. This day is the most significant amongst all have the different Buddhist traditions around the world.

Gautama Buddha who was known as Siddhartha Gautama was a spiritual teacher on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. The time of Gautama Buddha’s birth and death is uncertain. However, most historians date his lifetime between 563-483 B.C. Most people consider Lumbini, Nepal as birth place of Buddha. Buddha died at the age of 80 at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh.

Followers of Buddhism have been celebrating Buddhist festivals for centuries, the decision to celebrate Vesakha as Buddha’s birthday was taken at the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950.

It took another 49 years for the United Nations to recognize the importance of Buddha Purnima. The UN announced only in the year 1999 that it would be celebrating Buddha Purnima at their offices and at their headquarters at New York City.

The dharmacakra or dharma wheel is a symbol often seen during Vesak. It is a wooden wheel with eight spokes. The wheel represents Buddha’s teaching on the path to enlightenment. The eight spokes symbolize the noble eightfold path of Buddhism.

The Buddha is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in world history, and his teachings have affected everything from a variety of other faiths (as many find their origins in the words of the Buddha) to literature to philosophy, both within India and to the farthest reaches of the Western world.