Buddhism is a religion that centralizes on the religious development of an individual. It is considered as a pathway of practice to know about the realities of life. It is a non-theistic religion and preaches the invaluable teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who is universally known as Buddha. He was an awakened soul whose self introspection gave rise to a whole new religion known as Buddhism. This religion is now followed by almost 300 million people round the globe.
About Ullambana and its significance
Countless festivities are associated with every religion, Buddhism is also no different. Ullambana festival is one of the very delightful celebrations of Buddhists. As the literal meaning of the word Ullambana goes, this festival signifies liberation from all the miseries. Prevalently known as Sangha Day or the Buddha’s joyful day, Ullambana is celebrated when the Sangha community completes their summer retreat. The festival is mainly for lending a helping hand for suffer and to assist them to gain freedom.
The expanses celebrating Ullambana
Most surprisingly, Ullambana is observed as Ghost Festival by the Chinese and Taoists. In contrast to the Buddhists, these people observe the festival on a day when gateway of Hell opens and all spirits are permitted to obtain food and drink and are celebrate on the fourteenth night of seventh Chinese month. However, in Buddhists also Ullambana is principally observed by the folks of Mahayana community. Apart from them, many Therevada Buddhists, such as people of Laos, Thailand and Cambodia also celebrate Ullambana. The celebration continues for about half of a month. The festival starts from the first day of the seventh month of lunar calendar, i.e. the month of August according to Georgian almanac and continues till the fifteenth day.
History associated with Ullambana
The Buddhist genesis of Ullambana is found to have association with an anecdote that formerly comes from India. The references present in Ullambana Sutra shows, the Buddha himself preached one of his devoted disciples named Mahamaudgalyayana, who even after being a well-settled merchant left his entire business and dedicated his life to Buddha; to aid his mother who was a sufferer in the subordinate empire of the Hungry Ghosts and herself had taken the form of one. After the attainment of arhatship, he enquired Buddha, what proceeded with his parents after they died. Furthermore, while passing through the Buddhist universe, Mahamaudgalyayana could find his father in heaven while mother in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. To help his mother gain freedom Buddha instructed him to proffer the Pravarana to the honest Sangha community. He asked Mahamaudgalyayana to undertake this task only on the final day of monsoon. That ultimately freed Mahamaudgalyayana’s mother from hell.
The way of celebrating Ullambana
The evening chanting of Amitabha Sutra for six continuous days along with a Filial Piety Dharma Assembly and Lamp Lighting Ceremony marks the celebration of Ullambana in the Than Hsiang temple. People pray to attain victory over violence, envy, bigotry and all other negative forces during this festival.