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Lumbini: Celebrating Buddha's Birthplace on Buddha Jayanti

Explore Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, a UNESCO site buzzing with celebrations on Buddha Jayanti. Discover its historical significance, sacred sites, and the festival's spirit of peace.

A serene Buddha statue sits in a vast field, emanating tranquility and wisdom.
Buddha Jayanti
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Buddha Purnima, also known as Besak or Buddha Jayanti, is celebrated worldwide to commemorate the birth of Lord Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The day is also celebrated as Buddha has attained enlightenment after years of meditation in the search for truth.

Lumbini is one of the most important sacred places associated with the Buddha's life. Lumbini, located in modern-day Nepal, is considered the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, subsequently known as Buddha, the enlightened one.

Lumbini
Lumbini
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Historical and Spiritual Significance of Lumbini: 

Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, has enormous historical and spiritual significance for millions of Buddhists worldwide. In 563 BCE, Queen Maya Devi, the wife of King Suddhodana of the Shakya clan, is said to have given birth to Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini's calm gardens. 

The legend says Queen Maya Devi gave birth while standing under a sal tree, holding onto its branches. According to Buddhist tradition, here is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who subsequently gave up his princely life in pursuit of enlightenment and became Buddha.

A Pagoda in Lumbini
A Pagoda in Lumbini
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Buddhissm Architectural Marvels and Sacred Space

Lumbini is not only a historic location but also a place of spiritual introspection and reverence. Lumbini's sacred garden is embellished with monasteries, temples, stupas, and archaeological remains that illustrate the rich cultural and religious legacy linked to Buddha's birth.

The Mayadevi Temple, in the heart of Lumbini, is a venerated monument built to commemorate the precise location where Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama. The temple has a marker stone representing the nativity scene and an antique stone carving commemorating Buddha's birth. Pilgrims from all over the world visit this temple to pray, meditate, and honour the enlightened one.

Buddha Jayanti Celebration in Lumbini

Buddha Jayanti, the fortunate festival commemorating Buddha's birth anniversary, is deeply significant in Lumbini. On this auspicious day, devotees from many Buddhist traditions assemble at Lumbini for prayer services, meditation sessions, sutra chanting, and charitable actions.

The event usually begins with devotees gathering at the Mayadevi Temple before dawn for the traditional hoisting of the Buddhist flag and presenting incense, flowers, and candles. Throughout the day, pilgrims participate in spiritual activities like circumambulating the sacred garden, listening to discourses on Buddha's life and teachings, and performing acts of kindness and compassion.

Buddha Jayanti celebration in Lumbini
Buddha Jayanti celebration in Lumbini
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Importance of Buddha Jayanti in Lumbini

Buddha Jayanti is a perfect time to visit Lumbini and other Buddhist places in Nepal. The day is observed by both Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal, and it is also a public holiday. 

There are around ten thousand Buddhist Chaityas in the Kathmandu valley alone. Swyambhunath and Boudhanath are the most popular and must-see destinations for Buddhists. Similarly, other notable Buddhist monuments, such as Guru Rinpoche's cave in Pharping, Namo Buddha Stupa, and the Buddhist monastic town of Patan, commemorate it with ceremonies and butter lamp offerings. 

Hundreds of people visit these sites throughout the day to adore Buddha, observe precepts, and make donations. During the day, events are held to deliver teachings, display Buddha relics, and commemorate Buddha.

Also, during this day, several people commit to upholding the five principles of Buddha’s teaching, which are known as Panchsheel:

  • Refrain from taking life.

  • Abstain from Stealing.

  • Abstain from falsehood.

  • Do not consume alcohol.

  • Stay faithful in relationships.

Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, remains a timeless emblem of enlightenment and compassion, attracting pilgrims and spiritual seekers from all over the world.

On Buddha Jayanti, as devotees gather in Lumbini to commemorate the birth of the enlightened one, they renew their commitment to living the great precepts of Buddhism. The spirit of Buddha Jayanti lives on through prayer, thought, and acts of kindness, inspiring people to nurture world peace, harmony, and goodwill.

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