In Buddhism, it is the birthday of the founder of the religion, Siddhartha Gautama, who was probably born in 564 BC. was born in Lumbini in Nepal, one of the most important holidays. Buddha's birthday is calculated in Korea according to the lunar calendar and falls on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month of the year. This year 2023 it was May 26th and there are many festivals and parades in Korean cities to commemorate this special day.
Many Koreans visit Buddhist temples on Buddha's birthday, where they light colorful lanterns with a note of their heartfelt wish attached. So if you visit a Korean temple at the time of Buddha's birthday, you can admire hundreds of hanging paper lanterns in their colorful splendor. Most lanterns are created in the shape of a lotus, but there are also handmade lanterns in the shapes of tigers and dragons.
On the evening parades, these constructs can then be seen in oversized dimensions - huge tigers, dragons, lotus blossoms and elephants are moved luminously through the cities, whose streets are lined with very large numbers of spectators.
We were in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, South Korea, at the time of the 2016 celebrations. We had found accommodation in the Andong Park Hotel and at the reception it was very important for the employee to draw our attention to the evening parade, so that due to language difficulties he wrote us something on a piece of paper that someone with English language skills gave us should translate. The secret was quickly revealed, and the note read "Buddha's birthday" in Korean.
A short exposition on the basics of Buddhism:
The Four Noble Truths form the basis of Buddhism. These are:
- The truth about suffering.
- The truth about creating suffering.
- The truth about ending suffering.
- The truth about the path to creating happiness.
Since life is marked by suffering, the Buddhist asks about the causes and recognizes that suffering is caused by greed, delusion and hatred and strives to avoid them so that no further suffering can arise. To cope with this, he follows the Eightfold Path. This consists of: cognition, intention, speech, action, livelihood, practice, mindfulness and mediation.
In Buddhism, all life is subject to the cycle of rebirth. The only way to break out of this cycle is to avoid suffering and have compassion for others. This is the only way to break the cycle and reach the state of complete happiness.
Another important feature of Buddhism is that there is no omnipotent God in this belief system. Siddhartha did not see himself as God or as the bearer of a divine message. Buddhism is based solely on the thoughts and wisdom of a single person.
The believer is responsible for his own enlightenment and has to achieve it through his own efforts - in contrast to other world religions, in which almighty deities like to serve as excuses for their own fate, possibly their own failure.