- 16 May 2022
- 6 min read
Why in News?
The Prime Minister has recalled the principles of Lord Buddha and reiterated his commitment to fulfill them on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
- He also visited Nepal during this special occasion.
What do we know about Buddha Purnima?
- It is celebrated to mark the birth of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
- It is also known as Vesak. In 1999, it became an UN-designated day, to acknowledge the contribution of Buddhism to society.
- It is considered a 'triple-blessed day' - as Tathagata Gautam Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and Maha Parnirvana.
- Buddha Purnima falls on a full moon night, usually between April and May, and it is a gazetted holiday in India.
- Many devotees visit Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, on this occasion.
- Bodhi Temple is the location where Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.
Who was Gautam Buddha?
- 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. This event is known as Dharma Chakra Pravartana (turning of the wheel of law).
- He died at the age of 80 in 483 BCE at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh. The event is known as Mahaparinibban or Mahaparinirvana.
- He is believed to be the eighth of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu (Dashavatar).
What is Buddhism?
- Buddhism started in India over 2,600 years ago.
- The main teachings of Buddhism are encapsulated in the basic concept of four noble truths or ariya-sachchani and eight-fold path or ashtangika marg.
- Dukkha (Sufferings) and its extinction are central to the Buddha’s doctrine.
- The essence of Buddhism is the attainment of enlightenment or nirvana which was not a place but an experience that could be attained in this life.
- There is no supreme god or deity in Buddhism.
- Buddhist Councils:
- Schools of Buddhism:
- Mahayana (Idol Worship), Hinayana, Theravada, Vajrayana (Tantric Buddhism), Zen.
- Buddhism Texts (Tipitaka):
- Vinaya Pitaka (rules applicable to monastic life), Sutta Pitaka (main teaching or Dhamma of Buddha), Abhidhamma Pitaka (a philosophical analysis and systematization of the teaching).
- 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.
- UNESCO’s Heritage Sites Related to Buddhism: