New Delhi: The auspicious and much-awaited occasion of Buddha Purnima, also known as Buddha Jayanti is here. This year, it falls on May 7, marking the birthday of Lord Buddha. Traditionally, it's a holiday in Mahayana Buddhism commemorating the birth of the 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 the 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.
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, prince's father King Suddhodana wanted his son to reign as a powerful and greatest of kings, therefore he did not let him go out of the palace walls. However, as destiny would have it—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 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 our readers a very happy Buddha Purnima!