Why are you playing such loud music?
We’re celebrating our festival?
Nice. Please tell me about it.
It’s our God’s birthday.
Who is your God?
But Buddha doesn’t believe or preach in a personal God, as per my little knowledge?
What? What do you mean by that?
Forget it. But what are you celebrating?
We’re celebrating Buddha’s birthday—it’s May 22 and he was born today.
Which year is this?
But on May 22, Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born. He became a Buddha many years later.
What? What do you mean by that?
Do you know what is a Buddha?
No idea. Please let me celebrate our festival.
22nd May warrants a grand celebration in our country. Every year, the followers of Buddhism—specially the slums around my home—celebrate this day; violently as per my observation. They play on sleazy loud music, block the roads and burst heavy quantities of fire-crackers.
Some of them are under the spell of alcohol and most of them are under the spell of rage, ego and illusion.
Although, neither so I or most of these followers have infinite knowledge about the historical facts but I have read several books on the subject. I have understood a little about the man, the phenomena and the belief system.
This blog post is my perspective on finding the birthday of the Buddha based on whatever little I know; although one may choose to disagree.
Buddha means the one who is enlightened. I am a zero, nothing.
I feel that that what these followers are celebrating is the birthday of the prince who was a body and quit his luxurious life to find answers to certain questions that were running mercilessly in his mind—the question of birth, death, poverty, peace and happiness.
The story of this great teacher and divine soul need not be told in this blog post; everyone knows that but we really need to find the truth behind his birthday.
People are lost. They have no clue.
I have asked this question or let me put it up that I have discussed this with hundreds of followers but all in vain. No one has any perspective about this one; they just plainly follow what others do or what their family or friends or political leaders say. Only a handful few—who I feel are deeply rooted in the true teachings of Buddhism—could share a radical perspective.
My 4-year long sabbatical has really helped to find some facts and put certain things in perspective.
I feel that the prince started to become the enlightened one when he saw a sick person, an aged person, a corpse, and a holy man. Maybe, those are the moments that triggered the birth of the enlightened one in him.
Later, he spent 6-7 years traveling across India to discover the truth of birth, death, peace of mind and happiness; true and everlasting happiness. Maybe, those are the moments that triggered the birth of the enlightened one in him.
As per popular culture, he attained enlightenment under a certain tree in India. But is he was already one, then how can he attain enlightenment? He must have been already enlightened.
There’s some serious problem with the expression of facts and ideas.
Prince Siddhartha spent a lot of time to find answers to questions that have been haunting humanity since time immemorial. It was more of a self-study pilgrimage and in the pilgrimage, he learnt—and mastered—the art and craft of kindness, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. Maybe, those are the moments that triggered the birth of the enlightened one in him.
What I want to put forth is that no one can ever know the birth-date the enlightened one or when the prince became one.
Maybe, the onslaught of questions in his mind made him one, maybe the journey to find answers made him one or maybe he suddenly realized himself and all his questions came to an end, and that made him one. Maybe, the making of the enlightened one was a long transition or a nano-second reaction.
I don’t think we are fortunate or smart enough to calculate the real birth-date of Buddha; not by the parameter of nonsensical or political materialism. We may come close to understand the process of the birth through the lens of spiritualism but believe me, he must be really surprised and unhappy to see the way people celebrate his birthday—without a fraction of teachings of Buddhism—specially in the slums near my home in Mumbai.
This is gone too far and has become lengthy.
Let’s conclude it and let the followers be happy with a sham birth-date of the enlightened one and let me dig more until I become one myself.