Friday, Dec 8 2023
Lord Buddha is remembered on his birthday to serve as
a reminder that life is temporary and we must all strive
to attain Nirvana (enlightenment), the state of permanent
Story relating to the festival:
In India during the 6th century BC a prince name
Siddhartha Gautama was born. He led a life of comfort
in his father's palace. However, he was troubled by
the problems of life related to birth, sickness, old
age and death and wanted to find the meaning of life.
One night he left the palace, wife and child and went
in search of the truth. As these two extreme ways of
life could not give him the answer to the problems of
life, he adopted the life of the Middle Way or the Eight
Fold Path. This way of life led him to Enlightenment
Lord Buddha's teachings:
He taught the gospel of the four Aryan truths :
- Life is full of suffering. Every event in life is
painful (birth, age, disease, desire, etc)
- It is desire that is the origin of suffering. It
is the craving that binds us to the enending cycle
of birth and death.
- It is possible to achieve the suppression of suffering
by wisdom and understanding of the self.
- The way to end suffering is to follow the noble
Basic Beliefs of Buddhism:
Buddhists believe that the Buddha is the Perfect
One, the Enlightened One who has realised the Universal
Truth. He has perfect wisdom, infinite compassion and
infinite love. According to the Buddha's teachings,
beings are reborn many times in the cycle of births.
Only Enlightenment or Nirvana can end the cycle of birth
The Eight-Fold Path
- Right Understanding - understanding the Law of
Cause and Effect and the Four Noble Truths.
- Right Thought - not harbouring thoughts of greed
- Right Speech - avoiding lying, tale bearing, harsh
speech and idle talk.
- Right Action - not destroying life and not stealing
- Right Livelihood - avoiding occupations that bring
harm to oneself and others.
- Right Effort - earnestly doing one's best in the
right direction of the Eight-Fold Path.
- Right Mindfulness - being always aware and attentive.
- Right Meditation - making the mind steady and calm
in order to realise the true nature of things.
Buddhists believe that life is a journey and everyone
is a traveller heading towards the same direction, Nirvana.
To arrive at Nirvana he finds help in the Triple Gem,
which are Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
How is the Festival celebrated
To respect the Triple Gem, Buddhists may do a puja.
A puja is usually done before an image of the Buddha.
It reminds Buddhists that they should strive for Enlightenment
just like the Buddha.
Buddhists chant verses to profess faith in and to praise
the Triple Gem. Buddhists also can chant sermons taught
by the Buddha. It can be done alone or in a group. The
purpose of chanting is to purify the mind of greed,
hatred and ignorance and cultivate generosity, love
and wisdom. Chanting the name of the Buddha with full
understanding of its meaning has the effect of calming
a disturbed mind which is often caused by greed, hatred
and ignorance of the actual situation one is in. When
the mind is calm, life, problems are seen more clearly
and attitudes become more positive.
Communal Chanting is normally done in a temple. A bell
is rung at the beginning of the chanting session. Communal
chanting can also be done at home when there is a gathering
of friends and relatives with or without the presence
of a monk.
How is the festival
celebrated with Swami:
Buddhist devotees for countries like Sri Lanka, Japan
and Myanmar assemble at Brindavan to celebrate the Buddha
Poornima, the Birth Day of Gautam Buddha who founded
Buddhism. Bhagawan, in His Divine Message, explains
Lord Buddha's teachings on Right Conduct, i.e., Right
vision, Right Hearing, Right Thoughts and Right Actions.
He also narrates incidents from Buddha's life, elaborates
the inner meaning of the Buddhist prayer "Buddham
Charanam Gachchami" and emphasises the importance
of Non-violence or Ahimsa.
Buddha Poornima usually falls in the second week of
Jai Sai Ram
SSEHV Group 4