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Buddha Jayanti2012




The Buddhest ceremonies, festivals and rituals throughout the year. Among them the noteworthy are: Purnima, Uposatha, Vassavasa, Kathina Civara Dana, Sangha Dana, Atthaparikkhara Dana and Paritta The Buddhists of Bangladesh, who follow Theravada tradition, observe many socio-religious and popceremony etc. They observe 12 Purnima ceremonies. But, it is noteworthy that all the Purnima ceremonies are intimately associated with the life and teachings of Buddha and his disciples, and most of the religious ceremonies are celebrated in relation to Purnima days of Bengali calendar.

Here I will describe six major Purnima ceremonies which they celebrate with great religious zeal and fervour. Further, I will describe the conception and consciousness of lay Buddhists regarding this ceremony.
Boishakhi or Buddha Purnima : For the whole Buddhist world Buddha Purnima is the most sacred and most festive occasion observed with due solemnity.

It is also the most important religious occasion of the Buddhists of Bangladesh. They celebrate this ceremony with deep reverence and sanctity of mind. It is held in Bangladesh in the month of May or in Boishakha , the first month of Bengali calendar.

The Buddha Purnima is associated with three important events of Buddha’s life. For example, on this Purnima or full moon day i) he was born at Lumbini forest, finally, he attained nirbana or total extinction in the chain of birth and demise. As these three important events of Buddha’s life happened on this Purnima or full moon day, so it is called Buddha Purnima. In Bangladesh, it is also known as Boishakhi Purnima, because the full moon day falls during Boishakha, the first month of the Bengali calendar. Every year, in order to keep in mind the precept of Buddha and to call to memory the important three events of Buddha’s life, lay Buddhists of Bangladesh earnestly celebrate this Purnima with great religious zeal.

Ashari Purnima : As it is held in the month of Ashara of Bengali calendar, it is called Ashari Purnima. Ashari Purnima is equally significant in the Buddhist world in general and Bangladesh, in particular. This day also is observed gorgeously with deep respect and veneration. This day is associated with four important chapters of Buddha’s life and activities. On this day, firstly, Prince Siddhartha Gautama (family name of Buddha) was conceived in the womb of Mayadevi; secondly, he renounced home and went out to find the reason for human suffering in order to search for real truth and for the liberation of mankind; thirdly, he preached his first sermon at Savatthi, which is known as ‘Dharmacakra Pavattana’; finally, he observed first rain-retreat and introduced it among the monks. Moreover, Buddha exhibited twin-miracles. So, in order to commemorate these significant events of Buddha’s life, the Buddhists of Bangladesh observe the day with great religious fervour like that of Buddha Purnima. The Bangladesh government has declared the sacred day as an optional holiday in order to allow the Buddhists to participate in the day’s programme.

The religious ceremonies, festivals and rituals of the Buddhists of Bangladesh are intimately associated with the life and teachings of Buddha. Among them, the Purnima ceremonies may be considered the source of Buddhist culture and tradition. They play an important role in the religious life of the Buddhists. Furthermore, they are affirmation not only of the dependence of the Sangha on the society for material needs, but also of the society on the Sangha for spirituals instruction and guidance. Hence, it may be said that such observances help to establish a bridge of fraternity, solidarity, amity and mutual understanding between the Sangha and the lay community of Bangladesh.