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Asadha Poornima Dhamma Chakra Day

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  • 26 Jul 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, India in partnership with International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) celebrated Asadha Poornima Dhamma Chakra Day 2021 on 24th July 2021.

  • The day is also observed as Guru Poornima by both Buddhists and Hindus as a day to mark reverence to their Gurus.

Guru Purnima

  • According to the Hindu calendar, Guru Purnima generally falls on a full-moon day in the Hindu month of Ashadh.
  • It is dedicated to Maharshi Veda Vyasa, the sage who is believed to have edited the sacred Hindu text, the Vedas and created the 18 Puranas, Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavatam.
  • For Buddhists, the festival marks the first sermon of Lord Buddha, which is said to have been delivered at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, on this very day.
  • It is also believed to mark the onset of monsoons.

Key Points

  • About:
    • It commemorates Buddha's first sermon to his first five ascetic disciples. He gave his first knowledge to the world after attaining enlightenment.
    • The day marks the establishment of the Sangha, on a full-moon day of the month of Asadha, in the Indian Sun calendar at the ‘Deer Park', Ṛṣipatana in the current day Sarnath, near Varanasi, India.
      • It is also known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand.
      • It is the second most sacred day for Buddhists after the Buddha Poornima or Vesak.
    • This teaching of Dhamma Chakka- PavattanaSutta (Pali) or Dharma chakra Pravartana Sutra (Sanskrit) is also known as the First Turning of Wheels of Dharma and comprises the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.
      • Four Noble Truths:
        • Suffering (dukkha) is the essence of the world.
        • Every suffering has a cause – Samudya.
        • Suffering could be extinguished – Nirodha.
        • It can be achieved by following the Atthanga Magga (Eightfold Path).
      • Eightfold Path:
    • The Rainy Season retreat (Varsha Vassa) for the Monks and Nuns also starts with this day lasting for three lunar months from July to October, during which they remain in a single place, generally in their temples (Viharas/Chaityas) dedicated to intensive meditation.
  • Gautam Buddha:
    • He is believed to be the eighth of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu (Dashavatar).
    • He was born as Siddhartha Gautama in circa 563 BCE, in Lumbini and belonged to the Sakya clan.
    • Gautam attained Bodhi (enlightenment) under a pipal tree at Bodhgaya, Bihar.
    • Buddha gave his first sermon in the village of Sarnath, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
    • He died at the age of 80 in 483 BCE at Kushinagara, Uttar Pradesh. The event is known as Mahaparinibban or Mahaparinirvana.
  • Contribution of Buddhism to Indian Culture:
    • The concept of ahimsa was its chief contribution. Later, it became one of the cherished values of our nation.
    • Its contribution to the art and architecture of India was notable. The stupas at Sanchi, Bharhut, and Gaya are wonderful pieces of architecture.
    • It promoted education through residential universities like those at Taxila, Nalanda, and Vikramasila.
    • The language of Pali and other local languages developed through the teachings of Buddhism.
    • It had also promoted the spread of Indian culture to other parts of Asia.
  • Buddhism’s Relevance in Covid-19:
    • Buddha’s teaching is relevant today when humanity faces the Covid-19 pandemic as the biggest challenge before it. Buddha's principles bind countries together, strengthening humanity.
    • Today, the nations of the world are also holding each other's hands and helping each other in the times of pandemic, following the path of service to humanity as shown by Buddha.
    • Buddha’s four noble truths and eightfold path can help understand the doctrine of Karma and can help in healing the world and make it a better place.
  • UNESCO’s Heritage Sites Related to Buddhism:
    • Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara at Nalanda, Bihar
    • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, MP
    • Maha Bodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar
    • Ajanta Caves Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Source: IE

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