Atanu Dey On India's Development

Happy Birthday, Dear Gautama the Buddha

Buddha Purnima is a good time to remind ourselves of the Buddhas that walked the earth. According to tradition, the historical Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha was born during the full moon in the month of May, attained enlightenment on the same day in the 35th year of his life, and died on this day when he was about 80 years of age.

In India the day goes largely unnoticed. My conjecture is that because Buddha Purnima is not celebrated in the West with the traditional gusto accorded to Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Santa Clause (the fat man is an event all by himself), Halloween, and other such secular holidays, Indians don’t have a clue that this day is of any importance. One of these years, when Buddha Purnima is added to the list of events enthusiastically promoted by the commercial interest of the West, the innate desire to ape the West will add Buddha Purnima to the current list of celebrations observed by Indians. I hope the American marketers wake up and smell the incense and promote Buddha Day soon so that it will no longer go unnoticed by Indians.

The Bodhisattva Vows:

However innumerable sentient beings are, I vow to save them.
However inexhaustible the defilements are, I vow to extinguish them.
However immeasurable the dharmas are, I vow to master them.
However incomparable enlightenment is, I vow to attain it.

May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Here is something that I had written last year on The Birth Anniversary of the Buddha.


  1. Atanu,

    The second para is just right. I wish you write something more on that… Indians following the West blindly.

    “The birth anniversary of the Buddha” in was irritating. I felt like reading more. Suddenly it ended.

  2. Atanu,

    The second para is just right. I wish you write something more on that… Indians following the West blindly.

    “The birth anniversary of the Buddha” in was irritating. I felt like reading more. Suddenly it ended.

  3. Wow… more bitterness, and from a Buddhist no less.
    Is Diwali celebrated commercially in USA – where it’s illegal to light firecrackers except on the 4th of July? Is Holi celebrated commercially in USA? I have yet to see a single American put colour on their face. So I don’t know who you think is “aping the West”. Looks like it’s a case of a typical “minority” feeling victimised. Buddh Poornima is not a holiday for everbody, so not everybody is going to celebrate it. And considering this country is mostly Hindu Muslim, those are the holidays we choose to celebrate. How can anybody pretend to be so misinformed. They say never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. But even you can’t be that stupid…..can you?
    Furthermore, maybe Buddhists WANT this day to be low key, and splattered on a cheap 10 rupee Archie’s card.

  4. Diwali, Holi etc are Hindu festivals. So a Hindu will know them. I think the point Atanu is trying to make is “Valentine’s day is more popular in India than Buddha purnima” and the reason he says is “marketing from West”.

  5. Everytime this TTG guy posts a comment, he makes a blathering fool of himself and it takes a Smiley or someone else to gently correct his logic.

    TTG, do yourself a favour and kindly go through rest of Atanu’s articles — preferably starting with the first. You may find that Atanu and you actually have a lot more in common than you think.

    Atanu’s heart is in the right place. So is his head. Kindly pull your own out of your behind.

  6. I agree with what Sougata Sarkar said regarding TTG. TTG through his comments always proves that he is indeed a fool. Atanu is much more intelligent than TTG. TTG does not have even the brain to understand what Atanu writes. I consider TTG to be an illiterate and uncivilised person (A person may have a high degree, but he can be an illiterate in the real sense). He uses sometimes very filthy words (words that no gentleman can even spell). How can an educated person go so low?

  7. Sougata Sarkar, you are f.u.n.n.y! Your post (in response to TTG) is deliciously mordant. I wish my fellow U.S. citizens would learn to be so tactfully trenchant!

    It seems that the world must forever endure these negatively vibrating scolds who seem to feel the need to slight others in order to puff themselves up. “Puffery” I’ll call it.

    I see no bitterness in Deesha’s post whatsoever! I see insightful and honest reportage in the best sense.

    I must agree that Santa Clause (a fictional character only useful these days as an obese marketing mannekin) doesn’t hold a candle to Buddha Purnima.

    I love this blog and am glad I found it.

    As the Cyborg Governor of California (my home state) once quipped: “I’ll be back” .

  8. I think it is a blessing in disguise that the occasion goes without much fanfare. Else it would add another jewel to the burgeoning list of public holidays in this country.

  9. Dear Atanu,
    Happy to have come across your site.I am Indian living in France for the past 3 decades.Let me make a few observations-
    In you post you haven’t included another festival : Easter , equally celebrated by the chocolate Industry…
    The festivals here like christmas and others have little to do with the teachings of Jesus who celebrates poverty (material) as the best virtue.
    So let us forget St Valentin’s day and try to understand Buddha’s teachings

  10. This exact vow confuses me about Buddhism (I am not going to comment about not celebrating Buddha Poornima. Such things are personal, Atanu, and I wouldn’t fret over the absence of multitude in celebratory congregation). The focus still seems to be on personal attainment. The self-centredness is present, is it not? I would enjoy a post from you about this verse and your interpretation of it.