Category: Holidays » Hindu holidays
The Buddha Jayanti festival is celebrated to observe the birth of Lord Buddha. Gautama Buddha whose birth name was Siddhartha Gautama was a spiritual teacher on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. The time of Gautama Buddha’s birth and death is uncertain. However, most historians date his lifetime between 563-483 B.C. Most people consider Lumbini, Nepal as birth place of Buddha. Buddha died at the age of 80 at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh.
In Vaishnava Hinduism, the historic Gautama Buddha, is considered to be an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. Of the ten major avatars of Vishnu, Vaishnavites believe Gautama Buddha to be the ninth and most recent incarnation.
Buddha's portrayal in Hinduism varies. In some texts such as the Puranas, he is portrayed as an avatar born to mislead those who deny the Vedic knowledge. In others, such as the 13th-century Gitagovinda of Vaishnava poet Jayadeva, Vishnu incarnates as the Buddha to teach and to end animal slaughter. In contemporary Hinduism, state Constance Jones and James D. Ryan, Buddha is revered by Hindus who usually consider "Buddhism to be another form of Hinduism".
The Buddha has been important to Hinduism since the ancient times, given his teachings and royal support. The Hindu views (Brahmanical tradition) for the Buddha have neither been consistent nor constant. They have ranged from actively contesting the Buddhist premises and theology to sharing or adopting terminology, concepts as well as more recently, the persona of the Siddhartha as someone who was born in and matured into the Buddha in a Brahmanical system. One such integration is through its mythology, where in Vaishnava Puranas, the Buddha is adopted as the ninth avatar of Vishnu.
Buddha is considered as an avatar of Vishnu, by traditions within Hinduism. Buddhists traditionally do not accept the Buddha to be a Vishnu avatar. The adoption of Buddha may have been a way to assimilate Buddhism into the fold of Hinduism. Much like Hinduism's adoption of the Buddha as an avatar, Buddhism legends too adopted Krishna in its Jataka Tales, claiming Krishna (Vishnu avatar) to be a character whom Buddha met and taught in his previous births. The adoption of the Buddha in texts relating to Hindu gods, and of Hindu gods in Buddhist texts, is difficult to place chronologically. According to Alf Hiltebeitel and other scholars, some of the stories in Buddha-related Jataka tales found in Pali texts seem slanderous distortions of Hindu legends, but these may reflect the ancient local traditions and the complexities of early interaction between the two Indian religions.
In contemporary Hinduism, state Constance Jones and James D. Ryan, Buddha is revered by Hindus. They usually consider "Buddhism to be another form of Hinduism". However, regional Hindu texts over the centuries have presented a spectrum of views on Buddhism, possibly reflecting the competition between Buddhism and the Brahmanical traditions. Some pre-13th-century Hindu texts portray the Buddha as born to mislead the asuras to the false path, some to stop all killing of animals. Some pre-14th-century Hindu temples include Buddha reliefs with the same reverence they show for other avatars of Vishnu. In recent and contemporary Hinduism in India, Buddha is considered a holy being and revered as one who was awakened. Outside India, some contemporary Hindus revere the Buddha along with other gods during their festivals.
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