Lumbini Current Affairs - 2019

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18 May: ‘Buddha Purnima’ celebrated

Buddha Purnima also known as Vaishak Purnima is the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha (or Lord Buddha). 18 May 2019 witnessed the 2,563rd birth anniversary of the Buddha and is being celebrated across the world.

About Buddha Purnima

  • Background: Buddha Purnima festival is traditionally celebrated to commemorate birth of Siddhartha Gautama​, who later became Gautama Buddha and founded Buddhism. People celebrate Siddhartha’s (a king by birth) choice to embrace a spiritual quest when he witnessed the suffering of common people which inspired him to let go of his royal life. He then renounced all worldly pleasures and became a holy man.
  • It is celebrated every year on the full moon day (known as Purnima), in month of Vaishakha, according to Hindu Lunar calendar.
  • Reason: It is also celebrated as Vesak in South and Southeast Asia. The day commemorates birth, death as well as enlightenment of Lord Buddha, all of which is said to have taken place on same day. It is after this enlightenment that later Siddhartha earned the title Buddha which means ‘The Enlightened One’.
  • Significance: Celebrating Buddha Purnima is all about praying with purest of feelings, and adopting what Buddhism stand for which is peace, harmony and non-violence.

Celebrations Worldwide

  • Nepal: is considered as Buddha’s birth country. He was born in Lumbini (now in modern-day Nepal). There Buddha Purnima day is celebrated on full moon day of Vaisakha month in accordance to Buddhist calendar.
  • Southeast Asian Nations: celebrate day during Vaisakha month of Buddhist and Hindu calendar, which is generally the month of April or May according to Gregorian calendar.
  • Others:
  • On this day, Countries all over world such as Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Vietnam, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia,
  • Canada, United States (US) celebrate the essence of Buddhism. It is public holiday in many countries, and is celebrated by commemorating different ethnicities and cultures.

Celebrations India

  • It is celebrated by paying a visit to common Viharas (monastery for Buddhists), where Buddhists observe a longer than usual and full-length Buddhist sutra (or suttas), which is similar to a service.

17 May: Vesak Day

  • On 17 May 2019 United Nation (UN) observed “Vesak”, the Day of the Full Moon in month of May.
  • In 1999, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), by its resolution 54/115, recognized internationally Day of Vesak, to acknowledge contribution of Buddhism in world.

Samantha Express

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will launch a new train Samantha Express on February 14 from Nagpur. The Samantha Express will cover prominent places associated with Gautam Buddha and chief architect of the Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar.

Journey of Samantha Express

The Samantha express will run through the following places:

  • Chaityabhoomi (Mumbai): Dr Ambedkar was cremated here after his death on 6 December 1956 and it hosts a memorial for Dr Ambedkar.
  • Mhow (Indore): Dr Ambedkar was born at Mhow.
  • Bodhgaya (Gaya): Bodhgaya is a place where Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment under Bodhi Tree.
  • Sarnath (Varanasi):  Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma here.
  • Lumbini (Nautanwa): It was here Gautama Buddha was born.
  • Kushinagar (Gorakhpur): It was here Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
  • Deekshabhoomi (Nagpur): It was here Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism.

Dr B R Ambedkar and Buddhism

About two months prior to his demise, Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism. Speaking about conversion Dr Ambedkar had said that everybody has to admit that conversion is necessary to the Untouchables as self-government is to India. The ultimate object of both is the same and there is no difference in ultimate goal. The ultimate aim is to attain freedom. Freedom is necessary for the life of mankind. Conversion of Untouchables would provide them with complete freedom. The conversion cannot be called worthless by any stretch of the imagination.