day of Vaisakh Purnima, which usually falls in the month of
May, is considered most sacred by Buddhists all over the world.
This day is significant for three reasons. It was on this
day that Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born
as Prince Siddhartha at Lumbini in Nepal in 560 B.C. It is
also the day when He attained enlightenment at Gaya in India,
after years of search and enquiry into the causes and remedy
for sorrow in the world. Thereafter, Siddhartha came to be
known as Buddha, or the Enlightened one. He preached that
desires are at the root of all sorrow and hence advocated
the path of right conduct and the right use of senses as the
way to enlightenment. He attained Nirvana (Unity with the
Absolute) in 480 B.C., again on the day of Vaisakh Purnima.
This auspicious day is observed as Buddha Purnima with reverence
and piety by believers in the Far East countries and in Sri
Lanka and India as well.
The Mandir is attractively decorated in the
artistic traditions of the Orient. In the morning, special
dance troupes from these countries perform invocatory dance
programme welcoming Bhagawan. Bhagawan is generally greeted
with the famous Buddhist prayer: ‘Bhuddham Sharanam
Gachchami’ (I take refuge in Buddha). The programme
usually features speeches by Buddhist devotees and dignitaries
and a variety of other presentations depicting the rich cultural
traditions of those lands.
“Siddhartha, who came to be known as
Gautama Buddha, undertook various spiritual practices in order
to realize his true Self. He studied the Vedas and sacred
texts. He met many elderly wise men and tried to know the
truth from them. But none of these practices could show him
the path to Nirvana. Ultimately, he realized that Nirvana
lies in making use of the five senses of speech, touch, vision,
taste and smell in a sacred manner. He understood that Japa,
Dhyana, Yoga, Yajna, etc. were mere physical activities. These
spiritual practices are needed only for those who are attached
to the body. One who abides in the Self need not undertake
any of these practices. Buddha taught that Nirvana can be
attained only by cultivating Samyak Drishti (sacred vision),
Samyak Vaak (sacred speech), Samyak Shravanam (sacred listening),
Samyak Bhavam (sacred feeling) and Samyak Kriya (sacred action).
Today man is polluting his mind because of his evil vision.
Once the mind is polluted, how can he expect to attain Nirvana?
So, first of all he should develop sacred vision. See no evil,
see what is good. Man is subjected to hardships because of
his unsacred vision. Evil vision is sure to lead to sinful
acts. In fact, it destroys his humanness itself…
What is Nirvana? Today man aspires to attain
Mukthi (liberation). What is Mukthi? It is not the attainment
of a heavenly abode. Mukthi means freedom from suffering.
You need to have Mukthi at three levels – body, mind
and soul. For example, you are hungry. When you eat food,
your hunger is satiated. This is a kind of Mukthi. Say, you
are suffering from a disease. You take medicine and get cured.
This is also Mukthi. All this is related to the body. At the
mental level, Mukthi means controlling the vagaries of the
mind. But true liberation lies in understanding the principle
of the Atma which neither comes nor goes. This is termed as
One should have Daiva Preethi, Papa Bheethi
and Sangha Neethi (Love for God, fear of sin and morality
in society). That is true Nirvana. Be away from sin. Understand
that Daiva Sannidhi (proximity to the Divine) is true Pennidhi
(wealth). But ignorant people are unable to understand the
Divine principle. They feel that they can experience God through
meditation. What is meditation? It is a way of life. While
you are walking on the road or driving a car, if your vision
is not focused on the road, you may meet with an accident.
Concentration is necessary in all aspects of life. But concentration
does not become meditation. One should go beyond concentration
which means the mind should become still. You should be free
from thoughts. That is true meditation”.
- Divine Discourse: May 7, 2001