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May 24, 2024

Buddha Purnima 2024: Know Dates, Rituals, and Significance

Written by

Vikram Labhe



Buddha Purnima 2024: Know Dates, Rituals, and Significance

Buddha Purnima, or Vesak, widely observed in East-Asian countries, is a celebrated festival for Buddhists worldwide. On this day, Buddhists recollect the three important events of respected Gautama Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and salvation. This article will delve into the details of the festivals, including Buddha Purnima 2024 dates, the importance of Buddha Purnima, the benefits of celebrating the festival, and rituals associated with this momentous day.

Buddha Purnima is the right time to commemorate the wisdom of Buddha and his teachings, principles, and path to enlightenment and inner peace. Most Asian countries observe this festival to celebrate Siddhartha Gautama Buddha’s birth anniversary. The three significant occasions of Buddha’s life came on the same day and celebrated as Buddha Purnima. As we explore Buddha Purnima, we will also understand the importance of celebrating the Buddha Purnima festival in people’s lives.

Buddha Purnima 2024 Date and Tithi Timing

Buddha Purnima is celebrated annually on the full moon day of Vaishakh month according to the Hindu calendar. Hence it is also referred to as Vaishakh.

When is Buddha Purnima 2024?

Buddha Purnima 2024
May 23, 2024 [Thursday]
Tithi Timing 2024
Starts 09:17 AM on May 22nd; Ends 09:52 AM on May 23rd

Did you know? Buddha Purnima 2024 marks the 2586th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. The festival is widely celebrated in East-Asian countries like China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. The festival is celebrated as Vesak in these geographical regions. In India, Buddha Purnima is celebrated in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Uttar Pradesh, Maharastra, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Himachal Pradesh.

What is Buddha Purnima?

Buddha Purnima is generally observed in various Asian countries mentioned above in the name of Buddha Jayanti or Vesak. It commemorates the ‘three enlightening or transforming’ events of Gautama Buddha’s life, which culminated in the ultimate state of enlightenment: Nirvana or enlightening liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The three events are his birth, his enlightenment, and his Nirvana, all of which are believed to have occurred on the same day but in different years. It is unusual for such an event to occur, and it is hence known as the ‘three-blessed festival.’

Who was Gautama Buddha? Boran Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha, was a prince from the Shakya clan at his birth. At the age of just 29, he left his life and went into the woods to search for spiritual inspiration and enlightenment. After his spiritual awakening, Gautama penned down his teachings.

The phrase ‘Purnima’ is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘Full Moon.’ In Hinduism and Buddhism, the full moon is also a revered symbol that represents spiritual enlightenment, which Buddha achieved. Followers visit temples & monasteries on this day and celebrate the Buddha Purnima with a diverse and multifaceted range of rituals and routines at temples and monasteries. On this remarkable day, they engage in religious service and meditation on the Buddha’s teachings.

Astrological Significance of Buddha Purnima

Buddha Purnima has significant astrological relevance that adds depth to the celebration. According to astrology, the 13 prognostic constellations are said to have a celestial alignment during this period, which again has a huge influence on one’s journey toward ultimate enlightenment.

The moon plays an influential role in astrology, and it is claimed that Gautam Buddha’s birth chart had a Cancer ascendant while the sun was directed towards Aries’ intensity, and the moon was in Libra. Interestingly, five other planets, including the Sun, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus, were holding a clash position with the moon, and it is predicted that it has a significant impact on spiritual prowess beyond the material world and emotional well-being.

Buddhism and Hinduism suppose that when the moon is in a full position, a valley in the Himalayas automatically becomes a holy place for spiritual pilgrims. It is said that during this time, spiritual teachers and followers gather in a five-point star surrounded by concentric circles. This ritual is believed to facilitate the manifestation of the Divine Plan on Earth, creating positive vibrations and energy.

History of Lord Buddha

Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in the Shakya Clan, commonly known as Lord Buddha. Predictions were made before the birth of Lord Buddha that he would become a monk in the future.  Since his mother died, Buddha’s father had a fear of losing his son; this is why Lord Buddha’s childhood days were spent in the palace; he was not allowed to go outside.

At 29 years old, Lord Buddha stepped out of the palace for the first time; he drove a chariot, and the charioteer was instructed to make him understand the world. Three things made him understand the pain and sufferings of human life, which were the man, the dead body, and the sick person. After his visit to the city, Gautam Buddha renounced his life as a prince, went to the forest, and studied doctrines. After yogic austerities of six years, he spent seven weeks under the shades of the Bodhi tree after reaching Nirvana at the age of 80. Only after this, Buddha started his teachings, known as Dharma or Dhamma, which have inspired the lives of many and are still the source of those looking for inner peace and spiritual awakening today

Benefits of Observing Buddha Purnima

The day is observed by Buddhists and individuals who wish to attain a state of inner peace. It offers numerous other benefits to your personal growth and spiritual awakening.

Here are some of the key benefits of observing Buddha Purnima. The teachings and path portrayed by Lord Buddha allow followers to find peace in their lives. One such path is the ‘Eighfold Path’ that leads to freedom from suffering. It encompasses,

Eightfold Paths

What it encompasses

Knowing the truth

Right View or Awareness

Avoid hurting others

Right Speech

Abstain from evil

Right Efforts

Balance your thoughts

Right Concentration

Maintaining ethics in life

Right Livelihood

Work for the benefit of others

Right Action

Freeing your mind of negative thoughts

Right Intention

Practicing meditation

Right Mindfulness

Each practice will take us a step closer to the path of enlightenment. Meditation helps individual clear their minds, be self-aware, and help attain inner peace. Furthermore, there are traditions and rituals associated with Buddha Purnima that can enable an individual to stay interconnected with all life and value every living. Let’s look into the rituals associated with this festival.

Rituals for Buddha Purnima

There are rituals such as the lighting of candles, offering flowers, and coming together as a community that is united, understanding, and fosters oneness. These rituals and traditions are served to honor the teachings of Buddha.

What to do on Buddha Purnima? Follow the below rituals if you are observing Buddha Purnima 2024,

  • Start the day by offering flowers and flags over the Bodhi tree and placing lighted lamps around them.
  • The day fosters inner peace and empathy. So, one can free birds and animals from cages during the Buddha Purnima celebration.
  • Wear a white dress signifying purity, and meditate on this day.
  • Water the roots of the Bodhi tree while praying for inner peace.
  • Recite Buddha Purnima mantras and wisdom lessons from Buddha’s teachings.
  • Maintain vegetarianism on this day; one can also donate clothes and serve sweets to the needy.

On the day of Buddha Purnima, one can also follow ‘Panchsheel,’ the five principles of Buddha:

  1. Not to rob
  2. Not to lie
  3. Not to consume alcohol
  4. Not to commit infidelity
  5. Not to take life

Effective Mantras for Buddha Purnima

Om Mani Padme Hum: everybody who knows Buddha knows this popular Buddha Mantra. The mantra has a large place in the Buddhist tradition. It embodies the instructions of Lord Buddha and serves as an integral tool for self-transformation. It is believed that the earlier this mantra is recited- from 4 AM to 7 AM, the more benefit it brings.

Here is the meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum mantra,

  • Om - Sacred symbol and element of nobility that helps control one’s ego
  • Ma - Purifies jealously, hinting at morals
  • Ni - Patience and helps control one’s desires
  • Pad - Purifies ignorance and depicts the dedication of the subject
  • Me - Renunciation helps control one’s greed
  • Hum - Wisdom that tames one’s aggression.

Reciting this mantra humbly is believed to generate inner peace, compassion, and insight. Additionally, one can recite other mantras on Buddha Purnima like ‘Buddham Sharanam Gacchami’ and ‘Dhammam Sharanam Gacchami.’  These are the mantras that create several affirmations in an individual’s resolved possession of universal truth.

On this day, Bodhgaya’s Mahabodhi temple is beautifully decorated, and special rituals are also conducted under the Bodhi tree. The celebration of Buddha Purnima not just involves the decoration and worship of idols of Buddha, it means following his teachings. The best way to celebrate Buddha Purnima 2024 is by practicing the teachings of Buddha, which includes  Ahimsa and Karuna to all living creatures.

Happy Buddha Purnima 2024!